Your teeth are strong. Taking care of them with regular brushing, flossing and dental visits is essential for keeping them that way. Neglecting your oral care routine can quickly lead to tooth decay and, eventually, cavities. When cavities form, they require treatment. Without it, they only continue to grow larger, compromising the structure of the affected tooth and your oral health. Cavities have long been treated with amalgam fillings. At Blue Summit Dental Group, we provide an alternative. We can treat your cavities with composite fillings.
What Happens if Cavities Are Not Treated?Cavities are small pits that form in your teeth as a result of tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when the acids produced by plaque and oral bacteria erode the surfaces of your teeth. When the acids linger on your teeth, they weaken the enamel. These weak spots eventually become cavities. Bacteria can hide in these cavities, causing further damage. The cavities continue to grow larger, weakening the entire structure of the affected tooth. They can even grow into the inner layers of your teeth, which can allow bacteria to travel inside the tooth, which can lead to a painful infection.
What Are Composite Fillings?Traditionally, cavities have been treated with amalgam fillings. Amalgam is a mixture of metals suspended in liquid mercury. When this material is hardened, it becomes incredibly strong and able to stand up to immense bite pressure. However, amalgam fillings do have a few major drawbacks. One is their color. Amalgam fillings are silver in color, so they stand out quite obviously from the rest of your natural teeth. The metals in amalgam fillings can irritate those with allergies. Many patients also have concerns about the safety of the mercury content.
Composite fillings provide an alternative to amalgam fillings. These fillings use composite resin, which is made up of a mixture of fine glass, plastic, and other materials. This material is white in color, allowing it to blend in perfectly with the rest of your natural tooth color. This makes composite resin ideal for cavities affecting teeth that are visible when you smile. While not as strong as amalgam, the material can withstand the lighter pressures of the teeth in this area.
Placing Your Composite FillingsThe placement of your composite filling is fairly similar to how an amalgam filling is placed. It is a fairly straightforward procedure that can be completed in a single visit. We begin by drilling the decay of the cavity and cleaning it out. Composite fillings require less drilling than amalgam, so a local anesthetic may or may not be needed. Once the tooth is cleared of decay, the composite resin material is placed inside. A specialized UV light is used to cure, or harden, the filling, and finally, it is polished to a beautiful, smooth finish.
The Benefits of Composite FillingsThere are several benefits associated with composite fillings:
• Composite resin perfectly matches the color of your natural tooth enamel, providing a beautiful, seamless restoration.
• The material does not contain any metal or mercury. This makes it an ideal solution for those who have metal allergies or have reservations about mercury.
• Less drilling means more of your natural tooth structure is preserved.
• Composite resin bonds to your teeth, rather than just filling in space.
When a cavity forms, treatment is required right away. Composite fillings provide an aesthetic alternative to amalgam, blending right into the color of your natural teeth. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, call Blue Summit Dental Group today at (810) 658-9177.