Brushing and flossing your teeth every day are important habits that help to maintain the health of your mouth and prevent serious issues such as cavities. Untreated cavities can lead to major oral health problems. At Crossroads Family Dental, Dr. Kathy Zuccarelli, DDS can restore the health of your teeth with tooth-colored fillings.
How do cavities form?
Cavities form as a result of tooth decay, which is caused by the acids produced by oral bacteria. While oral bacteria are normal, an overabundance can cause significant harm. Oral bacteria feed on lingering sugars and food particles in your mouth. As they eat, they produce harmful acids that gradually cause increased wear to the enamel on your teeth.
Brushing and flossing are important for both keeping oral bacteria at bay and removing the acids that can erode your teeth. Left too long, the acid creates pits (cavities) in the enamel. Bacteria can then hide in these pits and continue their destruction. The longer they go untreated, the larger the cavities become, destroying the structure of the affected tooth. A cavity can even continue into the inner layer of your teeth, allowing bacteria inside to cause a serious tooth infection and other problems.
What are tooth-colored fillings?
For many decades, cavities were filled using an amalgam material. Amalgam consists of a mixture of metals (silver, tin, copper, and nickel) suspended in mercury. These fillings are well-known for their strength and are still used today. However, despite their strength, amalgam fillings do have a couple of major disadvantages—they are silver in color, which makes them stand out against the natural color of your teeth, and the mercury content is concerning for many dental patients.
This is where tooth-colored fillings come in. Tooth-colored fillings consist of a composite resin material, which is made up of fine glass, plastic, and other materials. While not as strong as amalgam, tooth-colored fillings can withstand most normal, everyday use and they perfectly blend in with the rest of your enamel. Once placed, no one will be able to tell that the filling is there.
How are tooth-colored fillings placed?
There are two different ways that tooth-colored fillings are placed. The first is known as a direct method and is performed similarly to the procedure for amalgam fillings. First, the tooth is cleaned. Then, a drill is used to remove the decay. Because composite resin bonds with the tooth structure, less of your tooth needs to be drilled away. Once the decay has been removed, an acid etch is used to create a rough texture in the cavity. This helps us to ensure a stronger bond between the material and your tooth. The acid is washed away, and the tooth dried again. The composite resin material is placed and cured (hardened) using a special light. Finally, it is polished smooth.
What are the benefits of tooth-colored fillings?
There are several benefits of tooth-colored fillings:
|•||The material blends in perfectly with the rest of your natural enamel.
|•||They do not contain metal or mercury.
|•||Less drilling means that more of your natural tooth structure is preserved.
|•||Composite resin bonds with your tooth.
|•||The composite resin hardens faster than amalgam.
|•||The filling is more easily replaced if lost or damaged.|
Cavities should never be ignored. If you notice a cavity or suspect that you have one, contact Crossroads Family Dental today at (219) 440-2950 to schedule your consultation today.