Almost all of us experience tooth decay at some point in our lives. Decay is caused by the bacteria in plaque, a thin biofilm that is constantly forming on and around our teeth. This bacteria feeds on the sugars and other simple carbohydrates we consume. As they feed, they produce acids that eat away at the enamel. After a while, cavities begin to form. If these cavities are not addressed early, they can lead to more significant oral health complications. At Cooley Smiles, we offer composite fillings to restore teeth with small to moderately-sized cavities.
The Composite Filling Process
Composite fillings are made using composite resin, a putty-like material that can be molded to match the shape of your existing tooth. Composite resin also comes in a variety of shades that mimic the color of natural enamel.
The composite filling procedure is completed in a single appointment. To fill your cavity using resin composite, we first find the shade that best matches your teeth. Next, Aaron Cooley, DDS or Brandon Cooley, DDS will use a small drill to remove the decayed tooth material. Then, the cavity will be flushed with a cleaning solution and dried. Once we are certain that all decayed material has been removed, we will begin to fill the tooth. The composite resin will be applied in layers. Each layer will be hardened using an ultraviolet curing light. The light also aids in the bonding process. Once the cavity is filled, we will trim any excess and polish the resin composite to match the sheen of your tooth.
Different Filling Types
Benefits of Composite Fillings
Composite fillings not only restore your tooth, but they also provide aesthetic value. When the composite is properly color-matched, it will be virtually impossible to tell that you have a filling. Composite fillings also provide structural support to a damaged tooth, because they bond directly to the enamel. Recent advances in dental technology have led to a more durable composite resin. Many composite fillings last will last for five years to ten years!
In comparison, amalgam (silver) fillings can be quite conspicuous and require a more extensive reshaping of healthy tooth enamel. Amalgam can also lead to corrosion and sensitivity issues with the teeth and gums. Most patients find the silver color to be a major disadvantage.
Composite vs Amalgam Fillings
Prevention Is Key
The best way to treat tooth decay is prevention. A good oral hygiene routine can prevent tooth decay and gum disease from developing into something that requires restorative treatment. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day, especially after sugary snacks. Flossing at least once a day has also been proven to reduce instances of decay. If you are prone to decay, we may also recommend an antibacterial mouthwash.
A healthy and balanced diet is also an important part of your oral health. Limiting your exposure to foods and snacks that are high in sugar and starches can significantly reduce your chances of developing decay.
Be sure to schedule regular checkups and professional cleanings. During your checkup, we can catch decay before it becomes a major issue. Also, professional cleaning is typically the only way to eliminate certain instances of tartar (calcified plaque) deposits.
Schedule Your Appointment
If you would like to maintain a healthy smile, call (425) 320-5000, and schedule your appointment now!