Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine is important for a healthy mouth. Habits, including brushing twice daily, flossing once daily, and having regular cleanings and exams done, help to prevent serious issues. Ignoring any part of your oral hygiene routine can greatly increase your risk of developing problems such as cavities. Should a cavity form, treatment is essential. Ignoring the cavity can have a major impact on the structure of the affected tooth and lead to serious complications. At Smiles Cosmetic Dentistry by Dr. Shrenna Clifton, we can stop the progression of a cavity and restore your oral health with composite fillings.
The Formation of Cavities
Cavities are small pits that form in the teeth as a result of tooth decay, which is caused by acid erosion. Oral bacteria and plaque, two substances that occur naturally in the mouth, both produce acids. When these acids sit on the enamel for too long, they begin to eat away at the enamel. While brushing and flossing help eliminate plaque and bacteria, and neutralize the acids on your teeth, there are some areas that can go untouched. As a result, the acids are left to destroy your teeth. Over time, cavities grow larger, compromising the tooth structure and its integrity. Cavities can also enter into the inner layer of the teeth, which provides a passageway for bacteria to enter and cause a painful infection.
Fillings are a common treatment for cavities, designed to halt the progression of tooth erosion and fill in the pits left behind. Traditionally, fillings have been made out of amalgam, a mixture of metals suspended in mercury. While these fillings are prized for their superior strength, they are not often well received. There are a few reasons for this. For one, the color of amalgam fillings, silver, stands out against the rest of the tooth and can dull the appearance of your smile. Some patients may be allergic to metal and can react to this filling. Many patients tend to be wary of the mercury content.
Composite fillings are a more modern development, providing an alternative to amalgam fillings. They are made up of a mixture of plastic, fine glass, and other materials. Because of the materials used, the composite is tooth colored, and blends in with the rest of the natural tooth structure, making it ideal for teeth visible in the smile. Composite may not be as strong as amalgam, but it can hold up quite well to normal, everyday use. It may not be ideal for back teeth like amalgam is, but it is a great option for teeth toward the front of the mouth.
There are several benefits to using composite fillings, including:
How Composite Fillings Are Placed
Composite fillings are placed like how amalgam fillings are placed. After a local anesthetic, if necessary, we clean the tooth and remove the decay. The tooth is washed and dried. The composite material is placed into the filling and smoothed. Finally, it is cured with a special blue light and polished to a smooth finish.
Treating a cavity is necessary to protect the affected tooth, your oral health, and even your overall health. For more information, and to find out if composite fillings are right for you, call Smiles by Dr. Shrenna Clifton at (470) 400-2001 today.
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