Dental Fillings in Canoga Park
A dental cavity is a small hole in a tooth caused by tooth decay. We all have bacteria in our mouths. Bacteria can combine with food and saliva to form a substance on the tooth called plaque. The bacteria in the plaque converts sugar into acid, which can cause these holes.
A cavity starts in the outer layer of the tooth and can penetrate into the softer inner layer of the tooth. That’s usually when people notice pain when consuming foods or drinks that are cold, hot, or sweet.
However, a dentist can catch cavities early, before they cause pain. A dentist can find a cavity by using a metal instrument to check and see if the tooth has been softened by decay. If a cavity forms in between the teeth, a dentist can find it on an X-ray.
Before a dentist begins to fill a tooth, he or she will give the patient local anesthesia (painkiller) to numb the area.
Then a dentist will use a drill or laser to remove the decay surrounding the cavity and unsupported enamel of the tooth.
A dentist will then use dental bonding material to repair the cavity. This dental bonding material is also known as a “filling” because the cavity is actually “filled” with the material.
When it comes to selecting a bonding material to fill a cavity, the choices are a natural tooth-colored, resin-based composite filling or a metal amalgam filling, which has a silver appearance.
Amalgam fillings have been around for decades and were the only choice for some time. Amalgam is a combination of mercury, silver, tin and copper. Mercury, which is about half the filling, binds the metals together.
While amalgam is stronger than the resin-based composite, the presence of mercury concerns some people and there is the unsightly metal in one’s mouth and smile.
Resin composite fillings are made of ceramic and plastic compounds. Because resins can match the color of teeth, there is no appearance of metal. These days, bonding is usually done with composite fillings.
The dentist uses a shade guide to find a composite resin material to match the color of the tooth. After that composite resin material is selected and created, the dentist begins the filling procedure.
First, the dentist roughens the tooth and puts a conditioning liquid on it. Then the dentist applies the tooth-colored resin into the cavity. The dentist molds and smoothens the tooth-colored resin on the cavity. An ultraviolet light or laser hardens the resin filling. The dentist shapes and polishes the filling.
A dental filling can usually be done in a single office visit unless several teeth are involved. Dental bonding is best suited for cavities and small cosmetic changes.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve had a dental exam or you suspect you may have a cavity, please call 818-312-9787 to make an appointment with an experienced dentist. Don’t put this off and allow the problem to get worse. Call us today!