Taking care of your mouth is essential for keeping it healthy and ensuring that it can optimally perform all of its necessary functions. To keep your mouth healthy, it is imperative that you brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. These habits are crucial for the prevention of cavities in your teeth. Should a cavity develop, Lake Sammamish Family Dentistry can help with fillings.
The Development of CavitiesPlaque and bacteria are two substances that occur naturally in the mouth. Throughout the day, they accumulate on the surfaces of your teeth. Plaque is naturally acidic in nature, while bacteria produce acids as they consume lingering sugars in your mouth. These acids collect on the surfaces of your teeth as well. If they remain there too long, they begin to erode the enamel, causing decay. Over time, decay gives way to the formation of small pits or cavities. Without treatment, decay continues, and cavities grow larger, compromising the strength and health of the affected teeth. Cavities can even grow deeper into the tooth, affecting the inner layers, which can then allow bacteria inside to cause painful infections.
Traditional Amalgam FillingsCavities have long been treated with amalgam fillings. This material is made up of a mixture of metals, including tin, copper, silver, and nickel, suspended in mercury. These fillings are well known for being exceptionally strong, which makes them well suited for cavities in the back teeth where biting and chewing forces are much greater. Getting an amalgam filling is a simple procedure and can be done in a single visit. First, a local anesthetic is provided. Next, the affected tooth is cleaned, and the decay is drilled away. Once the cavity is clear, the amalgam material is placed inside and smoothed before being cured or hardened. While amalgam fillings are incredibly strong, they do have a few significant disadvantages. First, they are silver in color, which makes them stand out from the rest of the tooth structure. They can cause problems for those who have allergies or sensitivities to metal. There are also several concerns about the mercury content found in these fillings.
Composite FillingsComposite fillings are a more modern alternative to amalgam fillings. They have quickly become the more popular option for treating cavities. Composite fillings use composite resin, a tooth-colored substance that is made up of plastic, fine glass, and other materials. It offers many benefits over amalgam fillings. One of the biggest benefits is that composite resin perfectly matches the color of your natural teeth, allowing it to blend in beautifully. The material also bonds with your tooth, meaning that less tooth structure needs to be drilled away. Composite resin also does not contain any metals or any mercury. While composite resin is not as strong as amalgam, it is still fairly strong and can stand up to most normal daily use. The process for getting a composite filling is similar to the process for getting an amalgam one. Depending on the size and location of the cavity, you may not need an anesthetic. First, the tooth is cleaned, and the decay is drilled away. Next, an acid etch is placed in the cavity to create a rough texture, providing a better surface for bonding. After the acid is washed off, the tooth is dried and the composite resin is placed inside. Finally, the material is cured with a special light and polished smooth. Treating a cavity right away is essential for stopping in its tracks and restoring the health of your mouth. For more information on fillings, call Lake Sammamish Family Dentistry today at (425) 270-1075.