Cavities and Fillings
Sometimes teeth get cavities. Cavities are areas of the tooth that have become softened due to excessive bacterial activity. As the bacteria "eats" (typically sugary foods and drinks) it releases acids. These acids weaken the surface of the tooth allowing the bacteria to progressively move further into the tooth. Typically these bacteria can be kept at bay with adequately brushing and flossing but occasionally a few break through. The good news is that if caught early they are easily treated with dental fillings.
There are a number of different materials that can be used for filling material. We use composite restorations in our office. Composite is a strong predictable material that bonds to the tooth and is tooth colored to match your natural shade.
Sometimes people request fillings to be replaces if they become anesthetic or discolored. Composite fillings can be a good option for this type of treatment. Amalgam (silver) fillings are commonly removed for this purpose. This can be one of the more dramatic changes we can make in cosmetic dentistry. If you are interested in this type of treatment please discuss it with your dentist to learn the risks and benefits of the procedure.
Composite fillings can also be used to fix chipped teeth. If the chip or fracture is small enough, tiny retentive grooves can be placed in the teeth and filling material placed to build the tooth back up.
After the tooth is built back up it is polished to a high shine with progressively finer sand paper. With a well matched shade the difference can be un-noticeable restoring the tooth surface and function.