What are fillings?
Fillings are materials that are used to fill in the cavities left behind from tooth decay. Once in place, the filling then seals out harmful bacteria and preserves the integrity of your affected tooth. Fillings are frequently made out of one of two materials, amalgam or composite resin.
Amalgam fillings, also commonly known as silver fillings, are a mixture of several materials, including zinc, tin and silver, and are held together by mercury. Because of its color, amalgam fillings are much more commonly used in back teeth, where the filling cannot be seen. Amalgam is strong, and is able to withstand the pressures of chewing forces. They are inexpensive, but they can last for several years. Many people express concerns about the mercury used in amalgam fillings, but many studies done have shown that the levels are harmless.
Composite Resin Fillings
Composite resin fillings are made up of fine glass held together with a resin material. Composite fillings match the natural color of your teeth, and are therefore often used to fill cavities in visible teeth. The material can also be used to fix other minor dental imperfections, such as chips. Composite resin can be used in back teeth, but it is not nearly as strong as amalgam, and is much more susceptible to breaking or other damage when placed under too much stress. These fillings tend to cost more than their amalgam counterparts, but they are less expensive than other solutions, such as veneers or crowns. Composite resin is also an excellent alternative to those who have metal allergies or if you are uncomfortable with the mercury content in amalgam fillings.
Getting Your Fillings
Getting an amalgam filling is a fairly straightforward process. Before we begin, we administer a local anesthetic to help with any discomfort you may otherwise feel. Then we drill out the decayed portion of the cavity. Next, the cavity is cleaned and disinfected. Finally, the material is packed into the space. The excess is removed, the filling dried and, finally, polished to a smooth finish.
Composite resin fillings can be done in one of two ways. The first, direct, method is similar to the procedure used for amalgam fillings. After the material is placed in the cavity, it is dried with a special blue light and polished smooth. The second, indirect, method takes two visits. During your first visit, the cavity is cleaned and disinfected. An impression is taken of the tooth and sent to a lab. The filling is created there. When it is ready, you will return for your second visit and the filling will be cemented in place.
While fillings are effective at keeping cavities clear of bacteria and preventing further decay or infection, it is best to prevent them from happening in the first place. This can be done with a proper oral hygiene regimen. It starts at home with twice daily brushing and daily flossing. You should also visit the office at least twice a year for cleanings and exams. We can clean the areas of your mouth that are difficult to reach on your own and examine your teeth for early signs of issues, helping to prevent any serious problems from occurring.
If your teeth have suffered at the hands of bacteria and now have a cavity or two, a filling may be just what you need. Call Lake Pointe Dental - Marietta today at 770-514-0440 to schedule your appointment and discuss your filling options.