Cavities that are left untreated can lead to serious oral health problems, such as infection or tooth loss. That is why it is important to know your options and take action. We here at Fairmount Dental Center are happy to provide information about treatment, help restore your tooth, and prevent further damage.
Most cavities are treated through the use of dental fillings. The process is fairly simple. The dentist will remove the decayed tooth material and then clean the area. Once the area is clean, we will fill it with the proper materials to help protect and prevent against bacteria that can cause decay.
There are several materials that can be used for fillings; however, the two most popular choices are composite resin materials and amalgam materials (silver fillings). The use of each largely depends on the location and size of the cavity.
Composite Dental Fillings
Composite dental fillings are made from a mixture of glass materials in a resin medium. This makes them ideal for anterior (front) teeth because we can alter the shade of the material to match the existing tooth. We typically use composite fillings for small to medium-sized cavities, as well as chipped teeth. During the procedure, the material is placed in series of layers. Between each layer, we will use a special light to help cure or harden the material. Composite fillings need to be bonded to the tooth, allowing us to remove less material than we would with other fillings.
After the filling is set, we will remove the excess and shape the filling to fit your tooth. Dr. Snyder will also apply polish to diminish future staining and wear. The main advantage of composite fillings are esthetics; however, the fillings can darken over time if you tend to eat or drink staining foods and liquids. The filling comes at a higher cost as well, because of materials and a more labor-intensive procedure. Not all dental insurances cover composite fillings, but thanks to increased use and effectiveness, more companies are increasing their coverage.
Amalgam Dental Fillings
Amalgam fillings are metal fillings that are comprised of tin, copper, silver, and mercury. Because of their dark color, this type of filling is ideal for situations where aesthetics are not a concern. Amalgam fillings have been around for 150 years, with a track record that has proven them to be a strong and durable solution.
We do not recommend them for the treatment of any tooth visible in your smile, but they are often the best choice for larger cavities, due to the extreme bite force they can withstand. Although modern advancements in technology have made composite materials stronger, amalgam fillings are typically recommended for posterior teeth such as your molars and premolars.
Amalgam fillings are self-sealing, making them an excellent option for areas that cannot be kept dry easily. They are less expensive than composite fillings and covered by the majority of dental insurances.
Contact Us About Dental Fillings
If you have any questions or concerns about cavities, contact us at (503) 967-0877, and schedule your appointment today!