At Calapooia Family Dental, we will always try to prevent cavities before they occur. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Even with good oral hygiene practices, many people still experience tooth decay at some point in their lives.
If we diagnose a cavity during your routine exam, the first line of defense is usually a dental filling. When it comes to fillings, we utilize the latest techniques and materials to ensure a durable and aesthetically-pleasing restoration. Our fillings can help you maintain a healthier, more beautiful smile!
What Causes Cavities?
Tooth decay is caused by the bacteria found in plaque, the sticky biofilm on and around your teeth. We brush and floss our teeth to eliminate plaque and prevent it from calcifying into tartar, which is much more difficult to remove. If plaque is allowed to build up, this bacteria can drastically affect your oral health.
The bacteria in plaque feed on sugars, starches, and other simple carbohydrates we consume. As they feed, the produce acids that attack the enamel and cause tooth decay. This process is also known as demineralization.
Every day, our teeth undergo two processes: demineralization and remineralization. During demineralization, acids strip away vital minerals like calcium and phosphate. During remineralization, these minerals are redeposited back into the enamel layer through the consumption of certain foods and beverages. If the rate of demineralization exceeds remineralization, cavities will likely form.
What Are Dental Fillings?
As you can probably guess, a filling helps restore the structure and esthetics of a decayed tooth. Dental fillings are most suitable for small to moderately-sized cavities. Larger areas of decay may require a more extensive restoration like dental crowns or inlays.
Fillings are also designed to prevent future decay. However, without proper oral hygiene, such as daily brushing and flossing, a tooth with a filling is more susceptible to further damage. A good at-home regimen and routine appointments can ensure your tooth and filling last for many years!
These days, most fillings are fabricated using composite resin. This putty-like material allows us to provide a restoration that does not affect the cosmetics of your smile. Before your procedure, we will color-match the composite to existing shade of your enamel, making it virtually-indistinguishable for your natural tooth. Amalgam, or silver fillings, may still be necessary for larger areas of decay located in the back of your mouth.
The Filling Process
The filling process usually begins with a routine appointment. If we discover any cavities during your comprehensive checkup exam, we may suggest a dental filling. The filling procedure will take place during the same appointment or at a follow-up visit, depending on your situation.
During the procedure, Dr. Summers or Dr. Hagerty will first use local anesthetic to numb the area and eliminate the chance of discomfort. Next, we will use a small hand tool, usually a drill, to remove any decayed tooth material. Once the tooth is properly prepared, we can place the filling material.
If it is a composite filling, we then use ultraviolet light to expedite the bonding process. The light also hardens the composite. If we use amalgam, the cavity will be shaped to accommodate the filling, as this type of restoration does not bond to the tooth. After the filling is in place, the procedure is complete. Composite fillings are usually polished to match the sheen of natural enamel.
Schedule Your Appointment Today!
Find out if you need restorative treatment like a dental filling. Call (541) 936-9222 to schedule your initial appointment today!