No one wants to hear they have a cavity, but it is important to take care of tooth decay before it becomes a major problem. If we notice a cavity during your routine dental exam, we will recommend a dental filling. Tooth decay does not repair itself. We use fillings to restore teeth that have experienced minor to severe tooth decay. At Anchorage Dental Associates, we offer several types of fillings depending on your circumstance.
Composite Resin Fillings
Composite resin is a putty-like material that is made of a plastic and glass mixture. In recent years, composite resin has become the popular choice among patients, because of its aesthetic and functional value. Composite resin can be color-matched to the existing shade of your tooth. It can also be molded and textured to match the appearance of natural tooth enamel.
We recommend composite resin if cosmetics are a concern. This type of filling is best for teeth in areas that do not experience immense bite pressure, namely the anterior (front) teeth. Composite also bonds to the enamel, which can improve the structure of a damaged tooth. The bonding process can prevent breakage and insulate the tooth from drastic temperatures.
Amalgam (silver) fillings have been used in dentistry for more than 150 years. Most amalgam fillings are a mixture of metals that bind together and give a silver appearance. We typically recommend amalgam fillings for instances of moderate to severe decay. That is because amalgam fillings are extremely durable. Under the right conditions, an amalgam filling can last upwards of 15 years. They can also support the strong forces of chewing, making them ideal for your posterior teeth (molars and premolars). In fact, due to their color, we only recommend them for the posterior teeth.
The Dental Filling Process
The dental filling process usually takes place in a single appointment. During preparation, Dr. Charles Michael will remove the decayed tooth material and clean the area. Composite fillings require the removal of less tooth material. Next, we will apply the filling. Resin composite is placed in a series of layers. Each layer is hardened using an ultraviolet curing light. Amalgam is placed and shaped in the cavity, where it rapidly hardens into a solid filling. For an amalgam filling, the process is complete at this stage. A composite resin filling needs to be shaped. We will trim the excess material and polish the area. Once the filling is polished, the procedure is complete.
Caring for a Tooth With a Filling
To maintain a restored tooth, you should implement a good oral hygiene routine. Daily brushing and flossing can reduce your chances of developing further decay. You may want to use an antibacterial mouthwash for extra protection. Regular exams and professional cleanings are also a crucial part of your oral health. If we notice or suspect that a filling might be cracked, we will take x-rays to assess the situation. A damaged filling should be replaced as soon as possible to avoid future complications.
Schedule Your Appointment
If you are interested in receiving excellent dental care, call (907) 885-3666, and schedule your appointment today!