Several Options for Teeth Restoration
When a tooth is decayed, it is important to restore the tooth with a filling. A decayed tooth is caused by bacteria in your mouth in the form of plaque. The plaque adheres to the tooth and breaks down the sugars in your mouth and ultimately cause destruction of the tooth enamel. As the enamel weakens and the plaque is fed by more sugars, the tooth becomes progressively more soft and the decay reaches deeper into the tooth. This process is typically painless and the patient is usually unaware that anything is happening. Cavities usually start on the biting surfaces of the teeth, and between the teeth. The biting surfaces have deep grooves, or fissures, on them which are easy places for plaque to get missed by the toothbrush. A toothbrush is physically incapable of removing plaque between the teeth. Plaque can easily stay in this area if it is out of reach of the brush. It is of utmost importance that patients floss their teeth. Flossing is the only way to remove the plaque that develops between the teeth.
Examination and x-rays by the dentist will reveal these areas and it is important to get them restored with fillings before they continue to get larger. As a cavity gets progressively larger, it encroaches on the nerve, or pulp, of the tooth. If the decay reaches the nerve, the tooth will need to have a root canal.
A filling can be done with either a white composite filling or an amalgam filling, which is gray in colour. The amalgam fillings are only done on the back teeth because of the colour. Both types of fillings work well for restoring teeth. There has been a lot of hype in the media about the mercury in the amalgam fillings being harmful for one's health. Amalgam fillings are not proven to cause any type of illness and should still be used in the correct clinical situation. Amalgam fillings have a very good seal to the tooth which prevents bacteria from creeping between the tooth and the filling and causing a breakdown in the filling.
A composite filling has the benefit of being more aesthetic. It also physically creates a bond between the tooth and filling. White fillings do a great job but they need to be placed in the correct clinical situation. A white filling cannot get wet when it is being placed so if a dry field cannot be maintained, the chance of the filling failing or not bonding to the tooth is higher.
Please do not hesitate to ask a dentist at Riverside Heights Dental in Surrey, BC which filling is better for you if you have a cavity.