Cavities and tooth decay are among the worlds most common health problems. They are especially common in children, teenagers, and older adults. However, anyone with teeth, including infants, can get cavities.
When a tooth has a cavity, the typical solution is a dental filling. Cavities, or caries, are permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of your teeth that develop into tiny openings, or holes. Fillings are a very effective solution, especially when cavities are found before they have a chance to grow very big.
What are Cavities?
Cavities are the result of tooth decay that is caused by harmful bacteria on the teeth. There are millions of bacteria that make up the oral microbiome, some of these bacteria are beneficial and aid in the digestion of our food, and other types of bacteria are harmful and need to be removed with a daily oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing. If harmful bacteria remains on the teeth it can harden into plaque, and eventually tarter. This sugar-eating, acid-secreting bacterium eventually erodes the enamel and dentin of a tooth. If not treated, cavities can decay all the way down to the extremely sensitive, nerve-filled pulp of the tooth and cause extreme pain.
How do Dental Fillings Work?
Dental fillings are an extremely common procedure that Dr. Brazdo has perfected over the years. At this Melbourne, Florida dental practice, we use only tooth-colored fillings to correct decay for its superior quality and predictability. Upon detecting decay, your dentist will only need to remove the decayed portion of the tooth. Unlike silver amalgam fillings of the past, composite bonded, tooth-colored fillings do not require the removal of healthy tooth tissue. Dr. Brazdo will fill the cavity and shine a specialized light to bond the filling to the tooth. This type of filling is reliable, predictable, and most importantly a non-invasive procedure that can be performed in one visit. This high-quality, bonded material not only flawlessly blends into the natural tooth, but it is also resistant to cracking, loosening, and fracture. Further, it will cause no harm to your natural tooth.
What is the Process for Filling a Tooth?
First, your tooth and surrounding gum tissue will be numbed using a local anesthetic. The drug temporarily cuts off communication between your tooth and brain so you will feel no pain. When your mouth is numb, the decayed portion of your tooth will be removed using a high-speed handpiece.
After the damaged portion is removed, a blue gel will be applied to the prepared tooth. This gel roughens the surface of the tooth microscopically to ensure the composite resin bonds strongly with your tooth.
The blue gel is rinsed away and the tooth is dried. Cotton rolls are placed around the tooth to ensure it stays dry during the procedure.
A small amount of priming and bonding agent is brushed onto the prepared tooth. This step kills bacteria and ensures a strong bond between your tooth and the filling.
The composite resin is placed inside your prepared tooth. It is dispensed in a dough-like consistency so it can be formed and shaped.
The composite will be smoothed and air bubbles removed using an instrument.
A blue light is applied to the filling. The light cures and hardens the filling. Depending on the size and location of your cavity, the light may be used more than once.
The filling will be shaped to resemble your natural tooth structure.
A bite test using carbon paper is conducted to ensure your teeth fit together comfortably. If necessary, Dr. Brazdo will file down and smooth the filling so your teeth fit together properly.
FILLINGS: SILVER VS COMPOSITE
Silver fillings are made of a mixture of metals. Although they have the benefits, such as longevity, their disadvantages far outweigh the benefits. To place a silver filling, healthy tooth structure needs to be removed to to make a space large enough to hold the amalgam filling. Silver fillings also lead to a higher incidence of cracks and fractures in teeth. This will ultimately result in a crown.
Composite, or tooth colored, fillings are made of resin material. Although they do have disadvantages, such as size limitation, the benefits outweigh them. A composite filling is bonded to the tooth so less tooth structure needs to be removed to place the fillings. They are also more aesthetic, as they are shade matched to the existing healthy tooth structure.
Our office does not place any silver fillings. We only use composite material for fillings.
CARE AND RECOVERY
Your composite filling doesn’t require any specialized care. Continue to brush and floss daily to prevent additional tooth decay. Your composite filling may stain easier than your natural teeth if you drink a lot of tea, coffee, or red wine.
After you get a filling, cold sensitivity is normal and could take anywhere between a few days to a few months to alleviate. However, if you experience pain or sensitivity when biting down, your filling may need an adjustment. You won't need to be numbed again since it's the filling and not your tooth that needs attention. Contact the office to schedule this follow up appointment.
If you experience any throbbing or temperature sensitivity that lingers for more than a few seconds please contact the office immediately.
Can Fillings be Prevented?
Good oral hygiene and regular dental check ups will curb cavities. Along with brushing for two minutes twice a day, prevent cavities by:
Limiting snacks between meals to reduce acid in your mouth and give your teeth time to repair themselves.
Fluoride Rich Toothpaste
Using a toothpaste with fluoride.
Eating candy, cookies, ice cream and other high sugar foods in moderation.
Avoid Sugary Drinks
Avoiding fruit juice, soda and other high-sugar drinks.
Refrain From Late Night Snacking
Refraining from eating after you brush your teeth at night. Saliva flow decreases while you sleep, so your teeth are less able to repair themselves from an acid attack during the overnight hours.