Treating a cavity is a fairly routine dental procedure that we perform here at Summit Dental Care. The procedure involves removing the decayed portion of the tooth and filling it with a material that protects and strengthens the tooth, preventing further decay and other complications. There are several different types of fillings available. We can help you to determine the best filling to meet your specific needs.
Why is Treating Cavities So Important?
Cavities are common, but that does not mean that they are not dangerous. If a cavity develops, treatment should not be put off or avoided. Without treatment, bacteria can continue to attack the tooth, causing more and more decay. This causes the cavity to grow larger. Over time, it can compromise the strength of the tooth. The decay can even go deeper into the tooth, toward the inner layers. Bacteria can then get into the tooth where it can lead to a painful infection. You may require more invasive treatment such as a crown, a root canal, or even a tooth extraction. The earlier you treat a cavity with a filling, the smaller and less invasive the filling will need to be.
Amalgam fillings are the oldest fillings. Also called silver fillings, amalgam fillings are made of metals suspended in mercury. They are incredibly durable. For this reason, they are excellent for treating cavities in back teeth. However, they do stand out against the natural white of your teeth, making them very noticeable. Many patients are also worried about using these fillings due to their ingredients.
Composite fillings are a more recent alternative to amalgam. Instead of metals and mercury, composite fillings are made up of fine glass, plastic, and other materials. They are also called tooth-colored fillings. Composite fillings are available in several shades of white, which provides us with a way to closely match the color of your tooth enamel. While they do not have the same strength as amalgam, composite fillings are still fairly resilient. They bond with your natural tooth structure, meaning that we do not have to remove as much natural tooth structure to ensure that they will stay in place. They also provide aesthetic benefits.
Indirect fillings are those that are made from impressions of your mouth and then bonded into the cavity. These fillings are also commonly called inlays and onlays. They are meant to treat cavities that have developed in the chewing surfaces of your molars, where traditional fillings might otherwise further compromise the affected teeth. These fillings are frequently made from porcelain or ceramic, but can also be made from gold or other metals.
Glass Ionomer Fillings
Glass ionomer fillings are ideal for children who have cavities in their baby teeth. They are made from glass and acrylic. They are not as strong as other fillings, lasting only about 5 years. While they only last a short time, they release fluoride while in the tooth, which helps to provide additional protection against tooth decay.
Cavities are a common dental issue, but that does not mean treatment can be put off. For more information about fillings, and to schedule an appointment, call Summit Dental Care at (208) 490-8141 today.