A cavity appears when decay rots away the enamel of a tooth. Left untreated, the decay will cause extensive damage to the tooth, and potentially cause the tooth’s root to become infected. However, if the cavity is caught early, your dentist can treat it with a simple filling, typically in one appointment.
A few types of filling material are available for cavities, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Composite filling (plastic resin), along with silver amalgam filling, are the most widely materials used today. Because composite filling is tooth colored, it can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and is more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or the more visible areas of the mouth.
We consider composite superior to silver amalgam, as silver amalgam filling contains small amounts of mercury, while composite filling is completely free of mercury. Composite fillings are very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile. However, as with all dental restoration, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced.
Composite fillings can repair:
- Chipped teeth
- Unwanted space between two teeth
- Cracked or broken teeth
- Decayed teeth
- Worn down teeth
How are composite fillings placed?
Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay with a laser or drill. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.
It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.
You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.