Taking care of your teeth is essential for preventing oral health issues, including tooth decay and cavities. Cavity prevention involves brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings and exams. After a cavity forms, it needs to be treated. Untreated, a cavity only grows larger, causing serious problems. At Freeman Dental Associates, we can treat your cavities, restoring the health of your mouth with composite dental fillings.
How Cavities Form
A cavity forms as the result of tooth decay. Tooth decay is caused by the erosion of your tooth enamel. Oral bacteria, which live in your mouth, feed on lingering sugars. As they eat, they produce harmful acids, which eat away at the enamel of your teeth. Brushing helps to keep the number of oral bacteria down, and it helps to eliminate the acids on your teeth. Ignoring your oral care routine, or simply missing certain areas of your mouth, gives the acids time to cause the formation of a small pit (cavity) in the enamel. Bacteria take up residence in this pit, and continue their destruction. Over time, the cavity grows larger. Untreated, it can begin to destroy the tooth, weakening it. It can also enter into the inner layer of the tooth, allowing bacteria in. If this happens, a painful infection can form. For these reasons, treating cavities as soon as they are noticed is very important.
Composite Dental Fillings
For many decades, cavities were filled with amalgam. Still used today, amalgam is very strong material. However, it does have some major disadvantages. It is silver in color, which makes it stand out against the rest of the tooth (which can ruin the aesthetics of your smile). It contains both metals and mercury. Many dental patients are uncomfortable with the idea of mercury in their fillings. Amalgam fillings also require drilling more of the tooth’s structure away than just the decay.
Composite dental fillings are different. Composite resin, a mixture of fine glass, plastic, and other materials, is used to fill in the cavity. The material is not as strong as amalgam (although it can stand up to most normal daily wear and tear), but it does blend in beautifully with your enamel, making it ideal for cavities that affect the teeth visible when you smile.
Placing Your Composite Dental Fillings
Composite dental fillings are a straightforward procedure that takes only a single visit to complete. The procedure for placing the filling is fairly similar to placing amalgam fillings. If necessary, a local anesthetic is administered. Next, the decay is drilled away from the tooth. The tooth is cleaned and dried. An acid etch is used to create a rough texture, which helps to ensure a strong bond between the composite material and your tooth. The tooth is cleaned and dried a second time. We fill the cavity with the composite resin material and use a special light to cure, or dry, it. Finally, the material is polished smooth.
Benefits of Composite Dental Fillings
Composite dental fillings have several benefits:
If you suspect you have a cavity, don’t ignore it. Contact Freeman Dental Associates to schedule your appointment today.
What our patients are saying about us
I have had the pleasure of going to Dr. Freeman's office since she arrived ten years ago. Dr. Freeman and her staff are not only friendly, but care about their patients. Debbie is very helpful at the desk, always trying to accommodate patient's with their often tricky work schedules. Staci and Tobi are both wonderful hygienists. They know each and every one of their customers and make the cleaning time enjoyable. They suggested Invisalign to me and my teeth have never looked better! If you have to have work done by Dr. Freeman, you can count on Allison to be efficient and caring. I can't say enough about Dr. Freeman and her Hanson team! - Barbara G.
"In my last visit with Dr. Freeman, I had a crown, a filling, and some adjustments to another tooth. Although my visit took 2 hours, it was very pleasant. Dr Freeman is always smiling when she comes in. She is very attentive, caring and has as gentle touch when working in my mouth. She explains every step of the process as she is working. I would highly recommend her for anyone who is afraid of dentists." - Henry Y.
"I am so impressed with this practice! We found them while hosting an 11 year old orphan from Latvia. Not only did she do top-notch dental work for him, she was so kind and patient with him, acting out all of the parts of the procedure since he didn't speak English! One of the staff even mentioned she had tried to brush up on her Russian language skills and used a few Russian phrases with him. I cannot even articulate how much that meant to us. Above and beyond, for sure!" - Tiffany L.
"I recently have had quite a bit of dental care on my old teeth. Dr. Freeman and her team did a great job caring for me. So gentle, professional and friendly. My mouth feels so much better!! Don't hesitate to choose this dental office. You will be glad you did." - J. D.