We here at Hickerson & Associates, DDS. PC. specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral health problems like tooth decay and gum disease. While we will always try to prevent any problems as best we can, most people will still need restorative treatment at some point in their lives. If you develop a cavity, for instance, we may place a composite filling to restore the appearance and structure of the tooth.
What Causes Tooth Decay?
Our mouths contain tons of harmful (and benign) bacteria that causes tooth decay, sometimes referred to as dental caries. Most of this bacteria is found in a sticky thin biofilm, known as plaque, that constantly forms on and around your teeth. Without proper oral hygiene, plaque can also calcify into calculus, or tartar, which is much harder to remove.
The bacteria in plaque and tartar feed of the sugars, starches, and other simple carbohydrates we consume. As they feed, they produce acids that unfortunately target the outer layer of the tooth called enamel. Over time, and without the proper care, these acids can eat away large portions of the tooth, resulting in the need for restorative care.
Why Choose Composite Fillings?
Dental fillings are usually the first line of defense once a cavity forms within a tooth. In other words, fillings allow us to address a minor issue before it develops into a major complication. These days, we usually recommend composite fillings for minor to medium-sized areas of decay.
Composite fillings are made from a putty-like material known as composite resin. This is the preferred material for fillings thanks to its several advantages over traditional methods. Above all else, composite can be color-matched to the current shade of your enamel, resulting in a filling that is virtually-indistinguishable from the rest of your tooth.
For over 150 years, dentists had to use amalgam, or silver fillings. Even today, we may still suggest a silver filling depending on the size and location of your cavity. If cosmetics are a concern, composite is the way to go. Composite fillings also allow us to preserve more healthy tooth material, leading to better long term oral health.
Placing Your Composite Filling
Dr. Ron Hickerson can diagnose you with a cavity and place your composite filling within the same appointment. Your filling procedure begins with tooth preparation. We need to remove any decayed tooth material before moving forward with treatment.
Once your tooth is properly prepared we will clean and dry out the cavity. We may also etch the enamel, which helps the composite better adhere to the tooth. Next, we choose a shade of composite that best matches your enamel.
Composite fillings are placed directly into the enamel and should be flush with the rest of your tooth. After we achieve the proper fit, we will use an ultraviolet curing light to harden the composite and expedite the bonding process. Once the bonding is hard, we may need to trim off any excess material to prevent a problem with your bite. Finally, we polish the composite until in matches the sheen of your tooth.
Schedule Your Consultation
If you would like to learn more about the current status of your oral health, our team is here to help! Call (346) 352-1333 to schedule your consultation appointment today!