Dental Cavities Treated with Composite Fillings
Dental cavities are extremely common and affect more than 90% of the population. If you have reached adulthood without ever having a cavity you are one of the lucky few. Cavities can affect anybody at any age from young to old. Oral hygiene habits, nutrition, and even normal changes associated with the aging process can play a direct role in making cavities a problem for all ages.
Cavity Is A Word We Don’t Like To Hear
Cavities are caused by decay and, as the name suggests, are tiny pitted holes in your teeth. Cavity-causing bacteria found in plaque is the primary culprit to blame for this decay. Bacteria, saliva and food intermix forming that sticky substance called plaque that attaches to your teeth. Plaque can accumulate most anywhere on the teeth and is most common along the gum line, in between teeth and in the small grooves in the tops of teeth. The bacteria in plaque interact with carbohydrates and sugars creating acid which attacks protective enamel (a tooth’s outer layer). Eating or drinking things high in sugar and starches contribute greatly to this process.
When a tooth is overly exposed to acid it weakens the enamel and forms a cavity. Once the dense, hard enamel erodes it leaves exposed the softer, porous inner layer of the tooth called the dentin. Once this occurs decay will rapidly advance penetrating the dentin and deeper layers of the tooth. You may not experience any symptoms of a cavity, such as pain or sensitivity, until the cavity actually reaches the dentin. You may occasionally be able to see a cavity as the area around a cavity may appear to be a grayish or dark brown color. In many cases, however, cavities cannot be seen and can be detected only by x-ray or a dental exam.
Do I Really Need A Filling?
A cavity will not just go away and should be treated. If cavities are left untreated they can cause pain, discomfort and may even lead to tooth loss. The decay will continue to spread and will eventually permeate the nerve center of the tooth which may be as painful as it sounds. Treatment also become much more involved and costly the longer it is left alone. Untreated cavities can develop into a more complicated problem such as an infection or abscess. Rather than a simple filling you may be faced with a root canal in an effort to save the tooth.
Resin fillings can also be used to repair a chipped tooth or replace an existing filling. Existing fillings can weaken over time and the seal between the tooth and the filling material loosens allowing bacteria in. Once this happens the tooth decay process takes hold.
Treating Cavities with Composite Fillings
Composite fillings are a restorative material that may be used by your Greeley dentist to treat cavities. It has become a favored choice for fillings because it closely resembles the color of your natural tooth and also creates a solid bond to the tooth. The material used for composite fillings consists of plastic resin and silica filler or tiny glass particles. Through the years technological advances in filling materials have tremendously improved composite fillings making them stronger and more durable. Composite fillings, however, can be vulnerable to staining or changes in color and can sometimes chip or wear away from the tooth.
A cavity can be filled right in your dentist’s office. Your dentist will typically numb the affected area using a local anesthetic so that you don’t feel any pain during the procedure. All areas of decay will be removed from the tooth and the tooth prepared so that your dentist can rebuild the missing tooth structure with the composite filling. A bonding solution will be applied with the next step being application of the composite filling material. A blue dental high intensity curing light is used to harden the filling material which takes just a few seconds. The filling is then checked to be sure there are no rough edges and your bite is okay. Any necessary adjustments will be made at this time to ensure your tooth has the right shape and appearance.
Expectations after Getting A New Composite Filling
It is not uncommon to experience some slight discomfort after getting a new composite filling. Your dentist may recommend ibuprofen to relieve any discomfort. If symptoms persist you should contact your dentist. The decay may have permeated deep into the tooth causing the nerve to become infected with bacteria. There is a chance that the tooth may need to undergo a root canal to relieve the discomfort even though the cavity has already been filled.
Ascent Family Dental welcomes the opportunity to be your number one Greeley dentist and help you to achieve a healthy, beautiful smile. You are invited to contact Dr. Scott Williams for an appointment to discuss all of your dental needs. The knowledgeable and caring staff at Ascent Family Dental will make you feel at home and will do everything possible to alleviate any fears you may have about dental procedures. If you have any questions or concerns about dental cavities, call (970) 351-6095 to schedule an appointment with a dentist you can trust.