All About Cavity Fillings!

cavity fillings

Teeth before and after treatment – dental composite filling.

If you’ve ever had a dental cavities, you’ve probably also had cavity fillings if you’ve visited the dentist. Millions of Americans receive fillings for the cavities they have. A filling is a way to restore small areas of a tooth that has been damaged by tooth decay. It is a process of removing the decayed tooth and restoring the area with material that restructures the area that had been damaged. Fillings are made of various materials such as composite resin, porcelain, amalgam, silver and copper. Not all fillings are the same and not all are the best option for each patient. Your dentist will know the right filling for you when tooth decay strikes. Learn more about fillings and what they are so you are more informed the next time you visit the dentist!


What Is A Cavity?

A cavity is known as tooth decay and it means the destruction of your tooth enamel over time. The tooth enamel is the hard outer layer of the teeth, which acts a the barrier to the soft center of the tooth. This soft center houses the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth that keep it healthy and nourished. The American Dental Association tells that that cavities directly stem from problems with oral hygiene. When the teeth are not brushed properly, or not brushed and flossed enough, they start to decay. How? You can blame plaque for your tooth decay.


Long story short, plaque gets into your tooth after eroding enough of it away to get inside. Once inside your tooth, plaque can cause decay, which is known as a cavity. You may also hear the term “dental caries”, which also means cavities.


All About Plaque

Plaque is the sticky acidic substance that sticks to your teeth. How did plaque get in your mouth in the first place? Your mouth is already filled with bacteria, but many of those bacteria are good. When you eat and drink, the sugars in the foods you ingest mix with that bacteria, creating plaque. That acidic substance then bonds to the teeth, where it starts to erode the tooth layer by layer. The best way to avoid plaque from attacking is to brush the teeth at least twice a day and floss the teeth every day. Even fluoride use can help protect your teeth from the harmful effects of plaque.


How Do We Find Them?

At our office, we can precisely locate cavities with laser cavity detection. Tooth decay can be difficult to diagnose in certain situations, especially when it starts out so small. Cavities generally happen inside your tooth and spread decay until they become large. You may have a large cavity in one of teeth right now and not even know it because the tooth appears healthy. In the past, x-rays have allowed us to detect the presence of tooth decay. However, cavities did not always show up in these images if they are too small or in their beginning stages.


To find subsurface cavities, laser cavity detection has allowed us the ability to detect tooth decay right when it starts. We use a unique Diagnodent laser, which is a pen-like wand, to scan the surface of your tooth. This laser is able to detect the presence of tooth decay. How? Based on the principle of lightwave reflection, the laser can expose hidden cavities by the way the tooth reflects light. When a tooth is healthy, the light will pass right through. When a tooth has decay, the light will be reflected. This allows us to know the exact location, size, and shape of your cavity. After detection, we look to cavity fillings to take away and fix the decay you have.


Correcting Cavities with Cavity Fillings

As we mentioned, cavity fillings are ways to restore small areas of the teeth that have been damaged by tooth decay. It is a process of removing the decayed tooth and restructuring the area that had been damaged. Fillings are made of various materials such as composite resin, porcelain, amalgam, silver and copper. In the past, silver and other metal cavities were popular. However, we have found that composite resin fillings are just as strong and effective as metal fillings for the teeth.


A filling is something that “fills” the space of something else. Basically, we are removing all of the part of your tooth that has been decayed or destroyed, and we are filling it with a tooth-colored resin. Our composite resins (or material) are composed of ceramic and plastic compounds that are durable enough to withstand the pressures of grinding and biting. We can also blend these fillings to fit the exact whiteness and shape of your natural teeth. During your procedure, the dentist will lay down layers of resin over your tooth, hardening each layer with a specialized light. Then we shape the tooth and you leave our office with a beautiful, healthy and complete smile.


Preserve Your Smile

Prevention is always key to avoiding tooth decay. However, when decay happens, we have cavity fillings to help take away that decay and repair your smile. If you have questions about the materials we use for cavity fillings or simply want to know more, call our Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies office today at (970) 223-6101!