Fillings can help your smile by restoring decay and yes, beautifying how your teeth look. How can this be? Aren't fillings made of silvery-looking metal? Some are, but most are tooth-colored, explain your family dentists in Sacramento, CA, Dr. Jeff DiMariano and Dr. Shaina DiMariano. Blending with and strengthening natural tooth enamel, today's dental fillings are amazingly lifelike in every way.
What is a dental filling?
It's a restorative dental treatment which repairs a cavity--that is, a hole in tooth enamel caused by the corrosive effects of acid in the mouth. Oral bacteria contained in soft plaque and hard tartar, or calculus, secrete this harmful acid.
Additionally, some people are more prone to decay than others. Softer, thinner enamel, a carb-rich diet, acid reflux disease, oral trauma and deeply grooved tooth surfaces increase the chances of developing decay.
Most American adults have at least three fillings to restore decay, says the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. A filling replaces damaged tooth structure. In the past, metal amalgam was the only choice of material. Strong and durable, amalgam still can be the proper choice for some decay situations.
More likely though, your Sacramento, CA, dentist will choose composite resin, porcelain, or glass ionomer to fill your cavity. These high-tech materials are versatile, blend in with surrounding enamel and well-withstand the substantial pressure of biting and chewing. They also require far less enamel removal and preparation to install than old-fashioned materials do, leaving more tooth structure in place.
The filling treatment
Dr. DiMariano uses a high-speed drill and other tools to remove the decayed portions of your tooth. The dentist does this with benefit of local anesthetic so you're comfortable during the treatment.
After the site is prepared, the dentist chooses the proper material for your filling. Composite resin, a blend of glass and acrylic, is layered into a small to moderate-sized filling. A special light hardens each layer for maximum strength. Glass ionomer, a mix of fluoride and glass, works well on the buccal, lingual or interdental surfaces and helps prevent future decay. Porcelain inlays and onlays really are partial crowns. Customized to fit over the top of molars or in between the cusps or corners, inlays and onlays are permanently bonded in place.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends the following as great strategies for reducing dental decay or preventing is altogether:
- Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss daily.
- Eat a diet low in carbohydrates.
- Avoid between-meal snacks.
- Stay hydrated with plenty of water, avoiding dry mouth, increasing saliva and rinsing tooth surfaces.
- Get semi-annual examinations and cleanings.
- Ask your dentist about in-office fluoride treatments and plastic sealants for more protection.
The best filling...
It's no filling at all. But, if decay happens, trust Dr. Jeff and Shaina DiMariano to uncover and treat it with the best materials available. If you have questions about our restorative procedures, including dental fillings, please call our Sacramento, CA, office at (916) 929-3898!