Cavities are a common dental issue that affects millions of people of all different ages. They are small pits that form as a result of tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when acids from plaque and oral bacteria are left to erode the surfaces of your teeth, weakening your enamel. When tooth decay and cavities form, treatment is essential. While minor tooth decay can be reversed, cavities cannot. At Long Island Smile, we can treat your cavities with dental fillings.
What are Dental Fillings?
Dental fillings are used to fill cavities in your teeth, stopping bacteria from taking up residence in the pits and smoothing the surfaces of your teeth. There are two types of fillings, amalgam and composite resin. Amalgam fillings are made up of a mixture of metals suspended in mercury. These fillings are exceptionally strong and can stand up to the strongest bite forces. Despite their strength, amalgam fillings are silver in color, which makes them stand out from the rest of the tooth. Many patients also have concerns over the mercury content.
Composite resin fillings provide an alternative to amalgam fillings. These fillings are made up of fine glass, plastics, and other materials. While not as strong as amalgam, they do have some significant benefits. Composite resin perfectly matches the color of your enamel. It is impossible to distinguish the filling from the rest of the tooth. They are also free from metals and mercury.
How are Dental Fillings Placed?
Placing dental fillings is a fairly straightforward procedure, and can be completed in a single visit. Before placing the filling, a local anesthetic
may be administered. Next, the tooth is cleaned, and the decay is drilled away. The filling material is placed inside of the cavity, smoothed and hardened, providing immediate protection.
How Long Do Fillings Last?
Fillings, whether amalgam or composite resin, can often provide many years of good service. However, they are unlikely to last forever. It is possible that your fillings may corrode, tarnish or yellow. Over time, with repeated use and chewing pressures, the filling may crack, leak, come loose, or even fall out completely. This can allow bacteria and other debris to find their way into the cavity and cause new tooth decay. If this decay is not addressed quickly, the cavity can grow larger, and you may even be faced with a painful infection.
Preventing Complications from Fillings
After fillings are placed, it is important to take care of them to prevent new issues from occurring. Bushing and flossing daily will help to keep buildup from accumulating on your teeth. Regular dental cleanings and exams
are also important. These visits will allow us to monitor the condition of your teeth, including your fillings. We can spot issues with your fillings early, and determine if they need to be repaired or replaced before serious complications arise.
Taking care of your teeth is essential for the prevention of tooth decay and cavities. If you suspect that you have a cavity, or suspect that you have an issue with an existing filling, give your Williston Park Dentist
at Long Island Smile a call to schedule your appointment today at (516) 243-7473