If you’re an adult, chances are you’ve had at least one cavity in your life. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost everyone will have at least one instance of tooth decay.
The good news is that the rate of cavities has decreased considerably since most areas now have fluoridated tap water. You can further reduce your risk of developing tooth decay by practicing good home care, visiting our office twice each year, and taking advantage of preventive treatments such as dental sealants.
In spite of your best efforts, however, you might still get a cavity. We are happy to handle this common dental procedure for you. Instead of the silver-colored metal amalgam fillings you may have had in the past, we now offer tooth-colored fillings made of a composite resin. These fillings are made to blend in with the color of your teeth, so no one but you (and your dentist) will know you have had a cavity.
What Is a Composite Filling?
Composite fillings are made out of tiny particles of glass, fillers, and/or quartz in a resin medium. Highly durable, this composite material bonds to your tooth. Because of this, more of your original tooth structure can remain.
Unlike the very noticeable gray color of amalgam fillings, composites are white. The shade can be adjusted to match your tooth completely. No one will see your fillings when you laugh or speak—even if you open your mouth wide. Their ability to blend in makes them ideal for cavities toward the front of your mouth, where fillings would be more visible.
Another benefit over amalgam fillings: Composites are less likely to fracture when there are temperature changes from hot or cold foods and beverages.
How Is a Tooth-Colored Filling Placed?
As with any cavity, Dr. Pilgrim will anesthetize the area around the affected tooth before removing the decay. He will then roughen the remaining tooth structure so the composite will more readily bond to the area. After mixing the composite material to match your tooth, he will apply it in layers, allowing it to cure between each.
Eventually, the filling will be built up to the appropriate size. You will be asked to bite down on the new surface to ensure comfort. Once it feels as natural as it looks, Dr. Pilgrim will polish the material so it is smooth and blends in nicely with your enamel.
Composite fillings are strong and durable, so your new tooth-colored filling should last a good amount of time.
Call for a Checkup
You usually won’t even know you have a cavity because they don’t generally hurt when they are small. By the time you feel pain, the decay has done some serious damage to your tooth.
The best way to catch cavities while they are small is to visit your dentist regularly. Dental examinations and digital x-rays can detect decay before it can be seen by the naked eye.
If you’re due for an examination and cleaning, give us a call! We look forward to seeing you.