Dental Fillings Salem, OR
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.
What Are 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 at your Salem, OR dentist's office,
depending on the severity and location of the cavity.
What Are Dental 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 Salem 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 Salem 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.