Cavities, caused by oral bacteria, are a serious oral health problem. Typically, they are associated with children, but cavities can affect anyone. Brushing and flossing are essential for preventing cavities, but certain areas of the mouth are harder to reach than others. When you have a cavity, National Dental Sunnyside can help with fillings.
Cavity FormationYour mouth contains naturally occurring, rapidly reproducing, bacteria. These bacteria thrive on lingering food particles. As they eat, they produce harmful acids that can erode the enamel of your teeth. Routine brushing and flossing, along with regular dental visits, are essential for keeping oral bacteria at bay, and eliminating these acids before they do any damage. However, if you neglect your oral health care, or you miss certain areas of your mouth, the bacteria begin to build up, and the acids begin to destroy your enamel. Eventually, small pits, or cavities, form on your teeth. Bacteria hide in the cavities and continue destroying your tooth. The longer your teeth go untreated, the larger the cavity becomes. It can even work its way into the inner layer of your tooth, causing an infection.
Amalgam FillingsAmalgam fillings have been used for over 150 years to treat cavities. Amalgam is made up of metals (silver, tin, nickel, copper), suspended in liquid mercury. When cured, it hardens into an exceptionally strong filling that can withstand very strong bite forces. This makes these fillings perfect for teeth at the back of your mouth. While strong, amalgam has a few drawbacks. The most significant drawback is that they are silver in color, which makes them very visible (and not aesthetically desirable for front teeth). Some patients are wary of amalgam fillings due to the mercury content. Moreover, they may not be ideal for patients with metal allergies.
The procedure for amalgam fillings is quick and simple, completed in a single visit. We start by removing the decay from the cavity and shaping it so that the filling will stay securely in place. We then clean and dry the tooth. The amalgam is smoothed and then cured (hardened) in the cavity, restoring the health of your tooth.
Composite Resin FillingsComposite resin fillings have been in use since the 1960s. They are made up of plastic, fine glass and other materials. Composite resin’s biggest advantage is that the material is tooth colored, making it the perfect aesthetic option. While they are not as strong as amalgam, they can withstand normal biting and chewing pressure. These factors make composite resin ideal for the teeth more toward the front of your mouth.
There are two methods for placing composite resin fillings. The first is similar to the procedure used for amalgam. After the cavity is cleared of decay, the tooth is cleaned and dried. The material is placed into the cavity and cured. It is then polished smooth.
The other method for placing composite resin fillings is what is called the indirect method. After the tooth is cleaned, an impression is taken. This impression is sent to a lab, where a custom fit composite resin filling is designed and created. It can take a couple of weeks, so you will be provided with a temporary filling while you wait. Once it is ready, we will cement it in place, restoring the health, and the appearance, of your tooth.
If you have a cavity in your tooth, don’t ignore it. Call National Dental Sunnyside today at (718) 925-3365.