Fillings & Restorations
At every examination and cleaning appointment, we’ll discuss your home care routine and check your teeth for cavities. Ideally, your home care and our professional cleanings will be enough to prevent cavities and decay from developing in your teeth.
What Causes Cavities?
Please click over to our service section for prevention for a detailed video about what causes cavities. Unfortunately, even the best care may not completely prevent a cavity from developing. Recent research has shown that bacteria passed from person to person may have an impact of cavity susceptibility. These bacteria thrive in the plaque that builds on your teeth, which is why regular brushing and flossing to remove this plaque is so necessary. While your toothbrush and floss are effective plaque-removal tools, it can be easy to miss certain areas. Over time, any plaque that is missed by your toothbrush can harden into tartar, which can only be removed with professional instruments.
Tartar gives the bacteria a more permanent home, and the acids produced by the bacteria are able to eat away at your tooth (and cause an inflammatory response leading to gum recession and bone loss as well). As the enamel of your tooth is eroded away, small areas of tooth structure will collapse.
This is a cavity.
If your cavity is left untreated, it will grow into a larger problem, requiring a root canal to save the tooth or extraction to remove an infection caused from the cavity.
To treat a cavity (or a larger area of decay), we must remove the decayed portion of your tooth to stop the process. The area is then restored with a special material that preserves the integrity of the tooth and allows it retain its function.
Some of the materials that have been used to restore teeth in the past include various metals and porcelain. One filling material that has been used for decades is dental amalgam, a mixture of several metals, including mercury.
While multiple studies have shown that these fillings are safe and no adverse effects have ever been linked to them, many patients are not comfortable with the idea of having mercury in their mouths. Additionally, the metal fillings state clearly to everyone who sees them that you have had cavities filled.
Composite Resin Fillings
At Apollonia Dental, we often recommend composite resin fillings to our patients who need restoration work. These fillings can be mixed to match the exact shade of your teeth so that they blend in and are virtually invisible. They also have other benefits over traditional amalgam fillings:
- Composite resin fillings require less preparation of the tooth and less removal of healthy tooth structure.
- The resin binds to the interior of your tooth, strengthening and supporting it.
- Unlike metal, resin does not expand or contract in response to temperature changes. Over time, these tiny shifts can cause your metal fillings to become loose.
- Older amalgam fillings may leak, a problem that does not occur with composite resin restorations.
- The composite resin can be applied and shaped to cover a larger surface of tooth, allowing for more aesthetic restoration options.
Twice yearly examinations are vital for catching cavities while they are still in the early stages. Call our Middletown, CT dental office today to schedule your appointment with Dr. McGrath.