Fillings

Tooth-Structure2

Dental caries is the medical term for tooth decay or cavities. The decay is caused by specific types of bacteria that produce acid and destroy the tooth’s enamel and the dentin (two outer layers of any tooth). If detected early enough, the decay can be stopped or even reversed (click here for more on topic of decay prevention). However, once there is a break in the enamel, only the dentist can repair the tooth. Then, the standard treatment for a cavity is to remove the decayed material and fill the tooth.

Filings are made of dental amalgam or composite resin. Amalgam is a silver-gray material made from silver, mercury, copper or other metals. For the esthetic reasons, we do not recommend amalgam fillings. Instead, we rely on composite resin in all of our cavity treatments. Composite resin offers a better appearance because it is tooth-colored, and when done properly, the filling is completely indistinguishable on a tooth surface. Please keep in mind, that in some instances, a cavity may be so large that the remaining tooth may not be able to support enough filling material to repair it. In this case, we would suggest one of the following: a ceramic inlay/onlay or crown.

Treating a cavity is a process requiring several steps:

  • The most important step is ensuring that the treatment is a completely painless experience. First, our doctors apply local anesthetic on the gums using a soft q-tip. Once the gum is numb, our doctors make skillful and pain-free injection. In great majority of the cases, our patients don’t even realize that an injection has been done.
  • Next, we will remove the decay, clean the cavity of bacteria and debris, and apply the tooth-colored material in layers.
  • Next, a special light that “cures” or hardens each layer is applied. When the multilayering process is completed, we will shape the composite material to the desired result, trim off any excess material, and polish the final restoration to perfection.