Posts for tag: fillings
Remember when the only way to repair a cavity was with a dark, amalgam filling? While amalgam works well in some circumstances, your Marietta, GA, dentist places numerous tooth-colored fillings for excellent durability and smile aesthetics. Just how do white fillings work? Read on to find out how Dr. Casey Hart places these lifelike restorations.
How a cavity happens
Cavities form when oral bacteria secrete corrosive acids on tooth enamel. These bacteria thrive in the food residues left behind on and between teeth and at the gum line. As the acids do their work, a hole, or cavity, forms. Left undiscovered and untreated, a cavity can cause:
- Dental sensitivity to cold, heat, and sugar
- Dental abscess when decay invades interior tooth pulp
- Throbbing toothache pain
- Tooth loss
It's important to see your Marietta dentist every six months for preventive cleanings and exams and to brush, floss, and eat a tooth-friendly diet daily.
Treatment with a tooth-colored filling
Unlike metal filling material, tooth-colored composite resin (a mixture of plastic and glass particles) requires far less enamel preparation before placing a filling. Your dentist simply numbs your tooth and removes any decay and old filling material with a drill and other handheld tools.
Then, Dr. Hart places a special etching liquid on the tooth. This helps the composite resin bond well to the tooth. Next, he layers the filling material into the tooth and bonds it in place with a special curing light. This layering/bonding process creates an exceptionally strong filling. With a final shaping and bite check, the filling is complete.
Other kinds of tooth-colored fillings include porcelain (inlays or onlays which treat very large cavities) and glass ionomer. This innovative material works best on tooth surfaces which are not subjected to the forces of biting and chewing (cheek-side or tongue-side decay). Glass ionomer combines glass with gradual-release fluoride which strengthens the underlying tooth structure.
Do you have a cavity?
Don't delay. Today's tooth-colored fillings are lifelike and last for years. For an appointment with Dr. Hart in Marietta, GA, please contact his office staff at (770) 926-8371.
Over the last century and a half millions of people have had a tooth cavity filled with “silver” amalgam. Perhaps you’re one of them. The use of this effective and durable filling has declined in recent years, but only because of the development of more attractive tooth-colored materials.
At the same time there’s another issue that’s been brewing in recent years about this otherwise dependable metal alloy: the inclusion of mercury in amalgam, about half of its starting mixture. Various studies have shown mercury exposure can have a cumulative toxic effect on humans. As a result, you may already be heeding warnings to limit certain seafood in your diet.
So, should you be equally concerned about amalgam fillings — even going so far as to have any existing ones removed?
Before taking such a drastic step, let’s look at the facts. To begin with, not all forms of mercury are equally toxic. The form causing the most concern is called methylmercury, a compound formed when mercury released in the environment combines with organic molecules. This is the form certain large fish like salmon and tuna ingest, which we then ingest when we eat them. Methylmercury can accumulate in the body’s tissues where at high levels it can damage various organ systems.
Dental amalgam, on the other hand, uses elemental mercury. Dentists take it in liquid form and mix it with a powder of other metals like silver, tin and copper to create a pliable paste. After it’s placed in a prepared cavity, the amalgam hardens into a compound in which the mercury interlaces with the other metals and becomes “trapped.”
Although over time the filling may emit trace amounts of mercury vapor, it’s well below harmful levels. You’re more likely to encounter “un-trapped” mercury in your diet than from a dental filling. And scores of studies over amalgam’s 150-year history have produced no demonstrable ill effects due to mercury.
Although it now competes with more attractive materials, amalgam still fills (no pun intended) a necessary role. Dentists frequently use amalgam in less visible back teeth, which encounter higher chewing pressures than front teeth. So, if you already have an amalgam filling or we recommend one to you, relax — you’re really in no danger of mercury poisoning.