A dental filling is necessary when the enamel of a tooth has eroded resulting in a hole. The condition is known as tooth decay or cavity, and is caused by bacteria in the mouth that ferment the carbohydrate component of food. A great way to avoid tooth decay is to promptly brush your teeth for 2 minutes after each meal. Flossing is necessary at least once in every 24 hours to ensure proper removal of food particles attached to the sides of the teeth and between the teeth and gums.
Today, fillings are made from a material called composite resin. It closely matches the natural color of your teeth. It consists of a mixture of acrylic resin and powdered glass-like particles. This mix successfully renders a tooth-colored substance used to fill tooth cavities. The material is hardened once deposited in the cavity by blue-light exposure. Alternatively, composite may be self-hardening.
Not only is composite a great solution for fillings, but it is also used for veneers, crowns, or even as a replacement of a broken tooth part!
There are a few advantages associated with composite fillings, including:
- Excellent bonding between the tooth and resin.
- Composite fillings will not damage opposite teeth.
- The resin is durable and will last several years.
- The procedure is usually completed in one visit.
- Color can be matched to your natural tooth color, making the filling invisible.
- A composite resin filling is a great way of preserving the natural structure of your tooth.
Composite Fillings Procedure
To successfully apply the composite resin filling, your dentist will first numb the area around the decayed tooth with a local anesthetic in order to remove the decay painlessly with a hand-piece. The hand-piece is also known as a drill.
Once the tooth is decay-free, the dentist will etch the tooth surface with acid gel and deposit a bonding liquid in the cavity to prepare the tooth for the filling application. The composite is applied once the bonding material sets. Finally, your dentist will polish the filling so it feels smooth and natural to the neighboring teeth.
Replacement of Silver Fillings with Composite Fillings
Many dental practices offer replacement of your old amalgam fillings with tooth-colored restoration. As you may already know, amalgam fillings are made of mercury and silver, and most dentist follow the mercury-free standard of practice today.
Amalgam fillings present the following disadvantages:
- Not only are they highly visible in your mouth, but they even tend to darken over time.
- Amalgam fillings can cause staining of your teeth and gums.
- Their application requires that your dentist remove part of the healthy tooth tissue.