Ninety two percent of American adults have had at least one cavity, making having dental caries (as this is technically known) the most common disease except for the common cold.
Cavities need to be detected by a dentist’s careful oral exam, utilizing digital x-rays in order to keep them from seriously damaging your teeth.
If decay is unchecked, it will advance to serious infection which may lead to root canal and/or extraction.
Neglecting oral decay can lead to gum disease, deterioration of the jaw bone, and loss of other teeth.
TYPES OF FILLINGS
Many options are available for tooth fillings, all have pros and cons. Types of fillings include gold, silver amalgams and tooth-colored composite materials.
Amalgam fillings which are rarely used now, have been used by dentists for more than a century. They are made of a combination of several metallic elements, amalgam fillings can be noticeable when you laugh, smile or open your mouth. They are the least expensive of all cavity-filling materials.
Composite Fillings sometimes referred to filled resins, these fillings feature a combination of glass or quarts filler and can be made to match the color of your tooth. Composite fillings are also fairly durable and are ideal for small to mid-size restorations in areas of your mouth that perform moderate chewing.
Many patients also want to replace silver-colored amalgam fillings containing mercury because concerns have been raised about their potential impact on long-term health. Los Angeles dentist Dr. Elyassi and his team at Wilshire Smile Studio remove amalgam fillings safely and substituting a non-toxic resin composite filling.
Tooth-colored are more attractive, some have fluoride to prevent further decay, and the resin (a type of plastic) strengthens the tooth. Replacements of larger fillings require a mold to be taken and sent to a top dental lab to design an exact fit (requiring a second visit to finalize).
Porcelain Restorations are tooth-colored and may less likely to stain over the composite filling.
Glass Ionomer fillings are a blend of acrylic and glass to create a cavity filling that releases fluoride to help protect the teeth.
WHEN TO REPLACE A CAVITY FILLING
Fillings usually last for many years before they need to be replaced. Fillings can wear out over years of chewing, clenching and grinding your teeth and require premature replacements.
If you notice signs of wear on your fillings (cracks or worn areas) address these concerns during your regular check-ups or call our office for an appointment before you are due for your cleaning.
Neglect to maintain your fillings may lead to root canals, cracked teeth and pain. Amalgam fillings may shrink and cause leakage. We may recommend replacing your fillings with a Full Coverage Crown or a Partial Crown restorations.
POTENTIAL PROBLEMS WITH CAVITY FILLINGS
It is very important to know about potential problems to prevent further damage. These are some complications to watch for:
Fillings may shrink and will pull away from the tooth. Visit our office as soon as possible to address the problems.
Fillings can crack, break and fail. This can be caused by pressure while chewing, sports and life accidents. It is very important to address these problems with our office as soon as possible.