You hear it time and time again. Brushing and flossing are essential for maintaining strong, healthy teeth. So, too, are regular dental visits. When you skip these steps, even just occasionally, you raise your risk for developing serious oral health issues, including cavities. Untreated, cavities have serious consequences, including the destruction of the tooth and infections. At South Main Dental, we can help to fix cavities with fillings.
Amalgam fillings are made up of different elements – tin, silver, nickel, copper – that are suspended in mercury. Because of the material’s makeup, amalgam fillings are silver in color. Amalgam has been used for decades and is still a popular option for fillings even today. This is due to its exceptional strength. It can stand up to strong bite forces and is therefore often placed in back teeth.
There are a few drawbacks associated with amalgam. The first is its color. Patients often do not want to have a silver filling visible in their smile. When placed in back teeth, though, it is often well hidden. The other drawback to amalgam is its mercury content. Many patients express concern over the use of mercury. Studies have proven the amount used to be harmless.
Composite Resin Fillings
Composite resin fillings are made up of a fine glass of a resin material. This same material is used in dental bonding, which can be used to fix minor imperfections in your teeth. Composite resin is a popular choice, especially for visible teeth, because of its ability to blend in naturally with the rest of your smile.
Composite resin fillings are not as strong as amalgam fillings. They can withstand normal biting and chew but are often likely to face damage when placed on back teeth (where forces are greater). They are also more expensive than amalgam, but their aesthetic benefits often outweigh this drawback.
Amalgam fillings involve a fairly straightforward procedure. We first administer a local anesthetic for your comfort. Then, using a specialized drill, we clean the decay from your tooth and shape the cavity to effectively hold the filling. The tooth is cleaned and dried. The amalgam is then placed in the cavity, smoothed and dried.
Composite resin fillings can be placed in one of two ways. The first method, known as the direct method, is fairly similar to how amalgam fillings are placed. After the decay is removed, and the tooth cleaned and dried, the composite resin is placed into the cavity and dried with a blue light. We then polish the material smoothly.
The second method for placing composite resin fillings is known as the indirect method. This method takes two visits. During the first visit, the cavity is cleaned of decay. An impression is taken of the tooth, which is sent off to a lab for fabrication. While you wait for the final filling, a temporary one is placed. Upon your second visit, the temporary filling is removed. The permanent filling is checked for fit and set in place using dental cement.
Whether you have a cavity in your tooth, or even suspect the presence of a cavity, it is important to seek dental help right away. Contact South Main Dental to schedule your appointment today.