Dental fillings, or simply fillings, are small patches used to repair cavities, and holes in the teeth formed by tooth decay. Dental fillings can be made from several materials and are usually smaller in size. The purpose of fillings is to restore the function and morphology of a tooth's surface, restore the bite, and apprehend tooth decay. Cavities are also known as dental caries, and are infectious diseases of the mouth.
Fillings are a restorative dentistry method that can delay the effects of tooth decay, preventing harmful bacteria from invading the tooth. At Division Smiles Family Dental, fillings are part of our daily routine. We believe serving our community is providing you with the education to take initiative in sustaining your oral health.
What Causes Tooth Decay?
The most common form of tooth decay is cavities. Cavities are holes in the teeth caused by invasive harmful bacteria that enter the tooth by breaking the enamel. Cavities can lead to tooth sensitivity and tooth pain. Enamel is eroded by plaque. Plaque is caused by acids, sugars, and overall poor oral hygiene.
The enamel is the part of the tooth that we see from the outside, the tooth's front line of defense. Enamel is the hardest material in the human body, but over time it can be damaged by erosion and microcracks.
Plaque is the acidic white film that forms on your teeth. You have probably felt it on your front teeth when you wake up in the morning. Plaque hardens into tartar, and bonds to the enamel. Plaque and tartar harbor harmful bacteria and over time the acids can create small holes in the enamel.
Microcracks in the enamel create teeth staining, allowing harmful bacteria and food to lodge themselves into the enamel's surface. Over time, the food and bacteria can degrade the enamel, and allow the bacteria to more easily erode the tooth. Brushing and flossing the teeth daily is more than enough to polish away minor stains, remove harmful bacteria and plaque, and hinder bacterial growth.
Types of Fillings
Fillings can be made from a variety of materials. The most common fillings are made from silver-colored amalgam and tooth-colored composite resins. Composite resins have become increasingly popular, and are now becoming used more than silver amalgam. Composites are always improving, and people appreciate the discretion tooth-colored resins provide.
Gold is a biocompatible material and extremely resistant to corrosion. It is also fairly malleable making it ideal for restoring chewing function without damaging surrounding teeth. Porcelain is biocompatible and holds a high aesthetic appeal. The material is identical to enamel in color and translucency. Porcelain is very durable; porcelain fillings can potentially last up to 15 years.
Repairing a Cavity
To repair a cavity, it must be cleaned first. A general dentist will administer a local anesthetic to the affected tooth. The dentist will use a drill or air abrasion device to remove the decayed material from the cavity. Once the decay is removed, the dentist will test the area to ensure that all the decayed tissue is removed. When the cavity is fully treated, the dentist will then fill it, mold the filling, and polish it.
Cavities can lead to larger complications if left untreated. We can help you at Division Smiles Family Dental to swiftly correct the issue. Fillings are part of our everyday practice and your cavity treatment is our priority. Call us at (971) 978-0293 to schedule an appointment.