Regular dental hygiene is essential for maintaining the health and strength of your teeth. Daily brushing and flossing, along with biannual dental cleanings and exams, are all crucial components. Ignoring oral hygiene can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria, both of which can lead to the development of cavities. If a cavity does form, treatment is necessary. At Anchorage Dental Associates, we can treat your cavities with composite fillings.
What are Cavities?
A cavity is a small pit that forms on the surface of your tooth as a result of tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when the acids produced by plaque and oral bacteria are left to linger on the surfaces of your enamel for too long. The acids gradually erode the protective enamel layer of your teeth, causing decay. Eventually, the decay gives way to a cavity. The longer the cavity goes untreated, the larger it becomes. It can weaken the integrity of the affected tooth. The cavity can also develop into the inner layers of the teeth, providing a direct path for bacteria to get inside. Bacteria in the tooth can lead to a serious, and very painful, infection.
Traditionally, cavities have been treated with amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings are made up of a mixture of metals, including tin, silver, and nickel, which are suspended in liquid mercury. These fillings, when cured, are extremely strong. However, they are silver in color, which makes them stand out from the rest of your natural tooth color. The mercury content of these fillings is also a major concern for many patients.
Composite fillings provide you with an alternative to amalgam fillings. Composite fillings use a composite resin material. Composite resin consists of a mixture of fine glass, plastic, and other materials. The biggest advantage of composite fillings is that they are tooth colored. They blend in perfectly with the rest of your natural tooth structure, which can make them ideal for cavities that are located in the teeth visible in your smile.
Composite vs Amalgam Fillings
The procedure for getting your composite fillings is fairly straightforward and takes only a single visit to complete. First, the tooth is cleaned, and the decay is drilled out of the cavity. After the tooth is dried, an acid etch placed in the cavity, which works to create a rough texture on your enamel. This texture aids in enhancing the bond between the composite resin and your natural tooth. The acid is washed off, and your tooth dried again. The composite resin material is packed inside the cavity, and blue light is used to cure it. Finally, the material is polished smooth, providing you with immediate protection from further harm.
They blend in perfectly with the color of your natural teeth.
They bond with the tooth. This means that less of your natural tooth structure needs to be drilled away.
They are fairly strong, and they can stand up to almost daily use.
These fillings do not contain any metal or any mercury.
Composite fillings not only restore the health of teeth affected by decay, they also restore your smile. Call Anchorage Dental Associates for more information and to schedule your appointment today at (907) 276-7366.