How to Remedy a Cavity
To treat cavities, we remove the decayed portion of the tooth. This creates a hole, which we then fill. Dental fillings can also be used to repair teeth that have been cracked, broken, or damaged from misuse.
The Tooth Filling Process
The process is simple. Local anesthetic is first used to numb the area around the tooth. Then a drill or laser, also known as an air abrasion tool, is used to remove the decayed part of the tooth.
Once we are certain all of the decay is removed, we clean the space of debris and bacteria. Then we add the filling and polish it to ensure there are no rough edges and your tooth remains smooth.
Types of Dental Filling Material
The material used for cavities can vary greatly. The type of material chosen will depend on the type of cavity, where it is located, what your insurance covers, and what your dentist recommends. The following are the common types of cavities.
Silver fillings offer durability and usually outlast composite by several years. They also possess good strength against chewing forces and are inexpensive compared to other alternatives. The downside is they do not match tooth color or look appealing. They also require more space compared to other types and can create discoloration. Small percentages of people are also allergic to silver amalgam, ruling them out as an option for some.
Cast gold dental fillings are durable and strong enough to withstand chewing forces. Some patients find gold more pleasing to the eye than the other types. However, these can be expensive since not all insurances cover them, and they usually require at least one or two additional visits to the dentist in order to be placed correctly. While some patients prefer the look, many dislike metal coloring. They prefer something that matches the color of the rest of the tooth. Gold cast can sometimes, although rarely, produce problems when placed next to silver amalgam.
Tooth Colored Composites
These dental fillings can easily match the color of most teeth, making them particularly well suited areas are visible or in the front teeth. Their composite material will actually chemically bond to the existing tooth structure to provide increased support compared to other fillings. The disadvantages for composite fillings include increased cost, decreased durability compared to other fillings, and potential chipping depending on the location of the filling.