Treating a cavity is a multiple-step procedure. Our dentist will, of course, remove any decayed material from your teeth. However, this opening in your tooth must be filled immediately after for several reasons. Fillings prevent bacteria from entering the tooth, causing further decay. In addition, fillings prevent injury and give you the ability to use your tooth to its fullest ability. We have a few different filling materials available at Southern Family Dental Care and our dentist can explain the benefits of each.
There are five main types of filling materials that we can use: gold, silver amalgam, porcelain, composite resin, and glass ionomer. Gold is one of the strongest materials, lasting between 10 and 15 years. However, this does not match the color of your other teeth. This material can also be expensive compared to other options. Silver amalgam is a combination of mercury, silver, tin, zinc, and copper. This material lasts about 10 to 15 years and is one of the more cost-effective options. Porcelain is a bit more fragile, but you should still get more than 15 years use out of it. This is aesthetically pleasing compared to gold, but it does cost about the same. Composite resin is a mixture of plastic and glass that matches the tooth color. It is more versatile in its usage than other materials, but it can be expensive and generally only lasts about five years. Glass ionomer is a mixture of acrylic and glass. This material is the most susceptible to damage, only lasting around five years. Glass ionomer does, however, release fluoride which can strengthen the natural tooth structure.
Our dentist will first administer a local anesthetic. They will then use a drill, laser, or air abrasion tool to remove the decayed dental material. After this, they clean the cavity to ensure all of the bacteria and debris has been cleared. Once the cavity is prepared, our dentist fills it with your selected material or combination of materials. We use a special type of light on the material which hardens it instantly. Our dentist finishes the procedure by trimming off any excess material and polishing the tooth.
There are other types of fillings that can be used in special circumstances. Indirect fillings are used when you have enough tooth structure remaining that a crown is not needed, but not enough of the natural tooth remains to support a regular filling. Indirect fillings are made in a lab and take two appointments to place. Temporary fillings are another type that is used in preparation for another filling or procedure or as a response to emergency treatment. These wear down after a month and must be replaced with a permanent filling. Otherwise, you could be at serious risk for infection.
Our dentist will explain how to take care of your filling following your procedure. In general, this includes avoiding hard and sticky foods for the first few days following the procedure. Other than this, you will need to maintain a regular dental hygiene routine and have routine cleanings at our office. For more information on fillings, contact Southern Family Dental Care at 470-410-9774 now.