Composite and Amalgam Fillings
Mercer Island, WA
Taking care of your mouth is essential for keeping it healthy. Brushing, flossing and regular dental visits are all integral components. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush at least twice a day and floss at least once every day. You should also have two professional cleanings and exams every year. Being lax in your oral care routine, regularly skipping parts of your daily routine, or ignoring your oral care routine altogether significantly increases your risk of developing cavities. Cavities require attention to prevent them from growing worse and compromising the affected teeth. Goichi Shiotsu, DDS can help with dental fillings.
The Development of Cavities
Cavities are pits that form on the surface of your teeth. They are caused when the acids produced by plaque and oral bacteria erode your protective enamel. Once the cavity forms, it provides a hiding place for bacteria, and they can continue destroying the structure of the affected tooth. Over time, the cavity grows bigger and bigger. A cavity can even develop into the inner layer of the tooth, which can cause an infection.
Traditional Amalgam Fillings
Amalgam fillings have been in use the longest, having been used for over 150 years. These fillings are comprised of a mixture of different metals, including silver, tin, and nickel. The metals are suspended in liquid mercury. After the filling is placed in the cavity and cured, it provides a superior strength that makes it ideal for areas where bite pressures are the strongest, the back of the mouth. While unparalleled in strength, many patients express concerns over these fillings due to both the metal and the mercury content. They are also silver in color, which makes them stand out, particularly in cavities toward the front of your mouth.
The placement of amalgam fillings is a fairly straightforward process. In many cases, these fillings are done under a local anesthetic. The cavity is drilled free of decay and thoroughly cleaned out. With amalgam fillings, some extra drilling needs to be done so that the filling can sit properly inside the tooth. After the tooth has been cleaned out, the amalgam material is placed inside. It is smoothed and finally hardened, providing immediate protection.
Composite Resin Fillings
Composite resin fillings are a more recent development, offering an alternative to traditional amalgam. These fillings are comprised of fine glass, plastic, and other materials. One of the biggest advantages of these fillings is that they are white in color, which means that they can blend in perfectly with the rest of the tooth structure. This makes them an ideal option for cavities in teeth closer to the front of your mouth. These fillings also do not contain any metal or mercury. However, they are not as strong as amalgam. They do well in the front of the mouth, however, because bite forces are less than the back of the mouth.
Placing a composite resin filling is a similar process to placing an amalgam filling. These fillings may or may not require a local anesthetic. It depends mainly on the size of the cavity and its location. Because composite resin bonds to the natural tooth, less drilling is required. After the decay is removed, the composite resin is placed inside of the cavity and cured using a specialized light. Much like an amalgam filling, it begins providing protection immediately.
Comfort & Care
At Goichi Shiotsu, DDS we understand that each patient is different, and not everyone is comfortable in the dental chair. That is why we also provide sedation dentistry to our patients to calm their nerves and fears. Don't let the anxiety of going to the dentist continue to hinder your teeth and smile.
Treating cavities quickly is essential for stopping them in their tracks and restoring the health of your teeth and mouth. If you suspect you have a cavity, call Goichi Shiotsu, DDS today at (206) 232-3600.