Tooth decay and dental cavities are unfortunate facts of life. Once a cavity has developed, the resulting damage is permanent. But you needn’t despair, there are things that dentists can do to repair a cavity and save your tooth. Depending on your situation, your dentist may recommend that you get the cavity filled.
You are likely familiar with tooth fillings and may imagine teeth filled with painfully obvious silver amalgam fillings. However, the dentists at Dental Care of Mesa can use a filling that matches the natural color of your teeth right here at Mesa, Arizona. This means that there’s no need to travel for natural tooth-colored fillings, so you can have a local option outside of the metallic-looking fillings that you may be more familiar with.
The Benefits of Natural Tooth-Colored Fillings
The most obvious benefit of these fillings is right there in the name, they are designed to blend in perfectly with the rest of your teeth. Whenever you open your mouth, all anyone will see is a set of pearly white teeth. There will be absolutely no flashes of silver, grey, or gold. This also makes the more natural-looking fillings far more suitable for front teeth.
Aesthetics notwithstanding, there are other reasons why many patients prefer natural tooth-colored fillings. Rather than using a silver amalgam, like the fillings people are most familiar with, these fillings are made with a composite resin.
The composite resin is better for the remaining tooth than many other fillings, as it chemically bonds to the tooth structure itself. This means that, often, less of the natural tooth structure needs to be taken away during the filling process. Also, the chemical bonding between the filling and the tooth provides more support.
The Process of Fitting Natural Tooth-Colored Fillings
First, the dentist will numb the area around the affected tooth with a local anesthetic. The decayed area will then be removed. Because of the composite resin used in this type of filling, the amount of tooth removed may be reduced when compared to other fillings. Next, the dentist will check that all of the decay has been removed. Once the dentist has determined that the decayed part of the tooth has been excised, they will clean the cavity to get rid of bacteria and debris.
At this point, the dentist will prepare the surface of your tooth for the composite resin, creating microscopic etches to help the resin bond to the tooth. Then, the dentist will apply the resin in layers. After each layer, the dentist uses a special light to harden the last layer, before moving on to the next. Once this process is complete, the dentist will shape and polish the resin so that it perfectly matches the natural tooth.
After the procedure itself, the dentist will give you the necessary aftercare instructions to ensure that the filling lasts as long as possible. The filling may take up to 24 hours to harden completely.