Cavities are an incredibly common oral health issue that affects the teeth of millions of individuals. While commonly associated with children, adults are at risk as well. Approximately 91% of US adults have had at least one cavity in a permanent tooth. A cavity forms as a result of tooth decay, which occurs when the acids produced by plaque and bacteria erode protective tooth enamel. When a cavity forms, treatment is needed right away. At West End Dental, we can treat cavities in your teeth with composite fillings
The Importance of Treating Cavities
When a cavity forms, treatment is needed right away. Cavities provide an ideal hiding place for bacteria that can be difficult to clean. The bacteria continue to erode the tooth from inside the cavity, which causes it to grow larger in size. This compromises the structural integrity of the tooth. The cavity can also grow deeper, entering into the inner layers of the tooth and allowing bacteria inside. Once inside the tooth, the bacteria can cause a serious, painful infection. Treating a cavity stops its growth and restores the health of the affected tooth as well as its strength.
What are Composite Fillings?
Traditionally, cavities have been treated with amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings are made up of a mixture of metals suspended in mercury. While amalgam is incredibly strong, it is not very aesthetically pleasing. Amalgam fillings are silver in color and stand out quite obviously against your natural teeth. The metal and mercury content of these fillings also raise significant concerns for many patients.
Composite fillings provide an alternative to traditional amalgam. These fillings are made up of a mixture of fine glass, plastic, and other materials. They contain no metals, no mercury, and are naturally tooth colored. Composite fillings may not be as strong as amalgam, but they can withstand most normal daily use. Moreover, because they are tooth-colored, they blend in perfectly with your teeth, which makes them ideal for cavities in your front teeth.
Placing a Composite Filling
The process for placing a composite filling takes only one appointment, and generally takes less than 30 minutes to complete. We first start by cleaning the tooth, eliminating the decay. Next, an acid etch is applied to the cavity, which works to create a rough texture to enhance the bond between the composite material and your tooth. The acid is washed off and the tooth is dried. We then apply the composite filling to the cavity and use a special light to cure or dry it. Finally, the filling is polished smooth.
Benefits of Composite Fillings
Composite fillings provide several benefits.
||Composite is tooth colored, making the material perfect for cavities in teeth visible when you smile.
||Composite bonds with your teeth, which means less of your natural tooth structure needs to be drilled away.
||The process for getting composite fillings is fairly quick and straightforward. Fillings can often be placed in less than 30 minutes.
||Composite fillings do not contain any metals, nor do they have any mercury. These fillings are ideal for those with metal allergies as well as those with reservations about amalgam fillings.
Composite fillings not only help to restore your oral health, but they can also help to restore the appearance of visible teeth affected by cavities. Call West End Dental at (503) 446-2957 today to learn more.