Cavities are an issue commonly attributed to children. They can affect anyone, regardless of age. They occur when acids produced by plaque and bacteria, as well as acids from certain foods and drinks, sit on the surfaces of your teeth. These acids erode the protective enamel, leading to the formation of cavities. While the early stages of tooth decay can be reversed, cavities cannot. At Jillian Prather Family Dentistry, we can treat cavities, restoring your oral health, with composite fillings.
What Happens When Cavities Are Not Treated?Once cavities develop, they cannot be reversed. Instead, they need to be treated right away. Without appropriate treatment, a cavity becomes a perfect hiding place for bacteria to hide. They continue to grow in size, compromising the structural integrity of the tooth. At the same time, cavities can grow deeper into the tooth, into the inner layers. If this happens, bacteria can enter the tooth, where they can cause a painful infection.
What are Composite Fillings?Traditionally, cavities have been treated using amalgam fillings. These fillings are made up of a mixture of different metals that are suspended in liquid mercury. Metals used in amalgam fillings include tin, copper, silver, and nickel. These fillings are well-known for being incredibly strong, able to withstand some of the strongest bite forces. However, despite their strength, they do have some significant disadvantages. First, amalgam is silver in color, which makes fillings stand out against the white of your tooth enamel. Some patients have allergies or sensitivities to metals, which can lead to irritation. Other patients are not too keen on the idea of using mercury in their teeth.
Composite fillings were developed as an alternative to amalgam. Composite fillings use a composite resin material to fill your cavities. Composite resin is made up of fine glass, plastic, and other materials. While not as strong as amalgam, it is still fairly strong and can stand up to most normal daily use. These fillings are white in color, allowing them to blend in with the rest of your natural tooth structure. Once in place, they disappear from view, making them ideal for cavities affecting more visible teeth. In addition to being tooth colored, amalgam fillings also do not contain any metals nor do they contain any mercury.
Placing Your Composite FillingThe process for placing a composite filling is fairly simple and can be completed in a single visit. First, the tooth is cleaned, and the decay is drilled away from the cavity. Next, an acid etch is used to create a rough surface in the cavity. This is necessary to enhance the bond between the composite resin and your tooth. After the acid is washed off, the tooth is dried, and the composite resin is applied. We then use a special light designed to cure or harden, the composite resin. Finally, the composite resin is polished to a smooth surface, allowing it to more effectively blend in with the rest of your tooth.
Benefits of CompositeComposite fillings provide numerous benefits.
When you have a cavity, treatment is needed right away. Call Jillian Prather Family Dentistry at (918) 401-9933 to schedule your appointment today.