Before and After – Fillings

We all know and loathe cavities, but do you really know what happens when you hear the dreaded “C” word? Check out the procedure below to learn more about why you should limit acidic and sugary drinks and foods. Ideally breakfast, lunch and dinner would be the only times sugary or acidic beverages would be consumed. Also remember to never skip a brush or floss opportunity and stay current with dental visits.

Decay(brown area)Here we see the decayed tooth. This kind of damage is caused by excessive contact of acids and sugars against teeth. Not brushing, flossing or swishing with fluoride enough can also be contributing factors. Other potential causes can include diabetes, dry mouth and smoking or dipping tobacco.

Plaque and tartar are always forming, but brushing regularly can keep it from accumulating too heavily. Plaque breeds germs and bacteria, which produce some acids as well. The acids then begin to eat away at the teeth and can eventually can cause softening of tooth structure if left unchecked.

As anyone who has ever had one can tell you, cavities that are large can cause sensitivity and/or pain. They can potentially cause toothaches and swelling in the gums, as well as bad breath. Without a professional dentist’s assistance, your tooth could die if bacteria reach the central living portion of it.

After decay removal

Filling a cavity is a process.

Your dentist must clean away the decay from the affected tooth typically with a local anesthetic to numb the tooth.

In this photo, the tooth is now clean and ready to be repaired with a filling.

Finally the hole from the decay gets “filled” up. That’s why we call them “fillings.”

Common options of filling materials include gold, silver(amalgam) or composite.

Final restoration closeup

Gold is considered one of the best because it possesses a terrific combination of strength and durability. If kept clean they can last for decades.

Silver(amalgam) is also a very strong and durable material. Its color can be highly noticeable and for this reason is not generally recommended for fillings near the front of the mouth.

Plastic(composite) fillings when appropriately placed can be a great option. They are undoubtedly the most esthetically pleasing “filling” option as they blend with the surrounding natural tooth structure. In the adjacent photo it is difficult to tell where the filling ends and the tooth starts which essentially makes the “filling” invisible.