All About Dental Fillings, Provided to Los Angeles, Culver City, and Marina Del Ray, CA
Tooth decay occurs when acids produced by bacteria and sugar break down the structure of the teeth. The protective outer layer, called the enamel, is the first portion of the tooth to be affected. If the decay continues, it can reach the nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth and cause pain and infection. Early stages of decay, called cavities or caries, can be treated with fillings. At Marina Dental Care, Dr. Marina Rios is an expert at treating cavities and applying fillings.
What are Dental Fillings?
A filling is a material that takes the place of the structure of the tooth that has been damaged by cavities. Dentists treat cavities by first numbing the location where the work will be performed, then removing the decay with a series of handheld tools. This leaves an indentation that would otherwise leave the tooth vulnerable to more problems, so a filling seals off the inside of the tooth and reshapes the outside. The filling material is soft and pliable at first but is hardened with a curing light after the application is complete. The process of removing the decay and filling the cavity typically takes at least a half-hour, depending on the severity and location of the cavity.
What Are Fillings Made Of?
Traditionally, fillings have been made from a material called amalgam, which is made of several types of metals, including tin, copper, silver, and mercury. For 150 years, amalgam has been the easiest and most long-lasting cavity filling material available, but there have been recent health concerns over the inclusion of mercury. Industry research has shown that mercury's chemical makeup changes when mixed with other metals; the exposure to mercury from amalgam fillings has been proven to be less than what is contained in the air we breathe and the food we eat.
Composite Tooth Colored Fillings
These fillings are created from composite, a liquid resin material which can be shaped and molded while still in liquid form. Your dentist will apply the composite and mold and shape it to provide a natural- looking filling. The composite material is hardened using a high-tech ultraviolet “curing” light. As a final step, your dentist will shape and polish the composite filling to perfection. Composite fillings are subtle because they look just like your natural teeth and can be color-matched perfectly to your existing teeth. They are also more protective because they can bond your damaged tooth together.
Dental Fillings Process
If you have a cavity the first thing we will need to do is remove the decay. We will first numb the area with numbing gel and then local anesthesia so that you don’t feel any discomfort during your procedure. Next, we will use a dental drill to remove the decaying areas of your tooth. Once we have checked to make sure all decay has been removed then we will begin to rebuild the tooth using a dental filling.