Cavities are an incredibly common dental issue that affects millions of individuals. Despite being associated mainly with children, cavities can impact the oral health of anyone, regardless of age. Without treatment, cavities can grow larger, compromising the structural integrity of the affected teeth and increasing your risk for infections. West End Dental can treat cavities with fillings.
How Do I Get a Cavity?
A cavity forms as a result of tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when the acids produced by oral bacteria and plaque, as well as acids from certain types of foods and beverages, linger on the surfaces of your teeth. These acids eat away at the protective enamel of your teeth, causing it to weaken. These weak spots eventually become small pits in your teeth or cavities. While the early stages of decay can often be reversed, cavities cannot, and require treatment with a filling.
Amalgam fillings are the most traditional fillings available. The material is made up of a mixture of different metals, including tin, copper, silver, and nickel, that are suspended in mercury. This material is placed inside of the prepared cavity and cured or hardened. Once cured, it becomes incredibly strong and can withstand a substantial amount of pressure.
Placing an amalgam filling is a simple, quick process that requires only one appointment. After providing a local anesthetic, we begin by cleaning the tooth and drilling the decay out of the cavity. Once the cavity has been prepared, the amalgam material is placed inside the cavity and smoothed before being cured. Once cured, you are provided with immediate protection.
Pros and Cons of Amalgam Fillings
Amalgam fillings are incredibly strong and able to withstand a significant amount of daily wear and tear. This makes them ideal for treating cavities at the back of the mouth where chewing forces are greater. However, amalgam fillings are silver in color, making them stand out against the color of your natural teeth. Also, the metal and mercury content do raise concerns for some patients.
Composite fillings are an alternative to traditional amalgam fillings. These fillings use composite resin, a material made up of fine glass, plastic, and other substances. These fillings provide a metal and mercury free alternative to amalgam.
Placing a composite filling is not unlike placing an amalgam filling. The process may or may not require a local anesthetic, depending upon the location and size of the cavity. We first clean the tooth and drill away the decay. Next, the composite resin is placed in the cavity and cured using a specialized light. Finally, the composite resin is polished smooth.
Pros and Cons of Composite Fillings
Composite fillings provide you with a metal-free, mercury-free alternative to amalgam fillings. Additionally, composite is tooth colored. These fillings blend in perfectly with the rest of your natural tooth color, providing a seamless restoration. Composite fillings are ideal for cavities affecting visible teeth. They are not as strong as amalgam and are at greater risk of wearing out quickly or fracturing under pressures at the back of the mouth. However, they can stand up to most daily wear and tear when used to treat cavities in front teeth.
If you have developed a cavity, or suspect you have one, treatment is needed right away. For more information, and to schedule your appointment, call West End Dental today at (503) 446-2957.
WE TREAT OUR PATIENTS WITH RESPECTWe believe in educating patients about their treatment options and listening to their questions and concerns.
WE BELIEVE IN HEALTHY TEETH FIRSTWe focus on prevention so that you keep your smile healthy. We provide excellent comfortable care for all procedures.