Unfortunately, tooth decay is a part of life for most Americans, even with the vast improvements in dental care over the last 50 years. Our goal is to keep your teeth as healthy as possible, which may also include restorative treatment. Dental fillings are our first line of defense against an existing cavity. At Rockville Centre Dentistry, we offer composite fillings due to their many benefits over more traditional materials, such as amalgam (silver) fillings.
Steps of Filling a Cavity
The first step of filling a cavity involves a diagnosis during your regular checkup. If we notice any signs of decay, we may be able to fill the cavity that same day. Henry Cuttler, DDS will begin by administering a local anesthetic to eliminate pain and discomfort. Next, we will use a drill to remove any decayed tooth material. Once we remove all the decay, we clean out the cavity with a special solution to eradicate any remaining bacteria or debris.
After the preparation phase, we will fill the cavity with the composite resin. Composite resin is a putty-like material that mimics the appearance of natural enamel. Once the composite is in place, we will use an ultraviolet curing light to harden and bond the material to the tooth. We then trim any excess composite to best match the shape of your tooth and prevent problems with your bite. During the final step of the procedure, we will polish the composite resin to replicate the shine of natural enamel.
Benefits of Composite Fillings
Composite fillings have some benefits over traditional amalgam fillings, the most obvious being esthetics. Before the procedure, we will pick a shade of composite that best matches the color of your tooth. For this reason, your composite filling will be virtually indistinguishable from the rest of your enamel. Amalgam fillings are much less discrete and usually reserved for teeth that are not in your visible smile line.
Composite fillings also conserve more of your healthy tooth structure. Because the material bonds directly to the tooth, the filling requires less drilling. Amalgam fillings must sit in a large pocket to prevent them from shifting out of place since they do not bond to the tooth.
After You Receive Your Composite Filling
Sensitivity issues are a common side effect of dental fillings. Some people may notice an increased sensitivity to pressure, air, and hot or cold foods. In most cases, your sensitivity issues should dissipate in a week or two. Until then, you may want to avoid foods that trigger a response.
Once you have received a filling, you should pay special attention to the tooth during your daily oral hygiene routine. Regular brushing and flossing should prevent further decay. You may also want to consider a fluoridated mouthwash for extra protection. Fluoride protects the enamel from the acids produced by the harmful bacteria in plaque. It can even reverse minor instances of decay.
Be sure to regular checkups and professional cleanings. These appointments allow us to monitor your oral health and catch other problems before they require major restorative treatment. A professional cleaning will help to keep plaque and tartar buildup at bay.
Schedule Your Appointment
If you would like to learn more about composite fillings, call (516) 678-0100, and schedule your appointment today!