Thursday, January 12, 2017
How a Dentist Fills a Cavity
As the owner of A Caring Dentist on Staten Island, New York, Dr. Alan Kratenstein builds on three decades of experience. Dr. Alan Kratenstein performs a comprehensive range of treatments, including the traditional filling.
When bacteria in the mouth combine with food particles, they create a sticky plaque that coats the surface of teeth. This acidic plaque eats away at the tooth and ultimately creates a cavity.
Left untreated, these cavities continue to grow and can ultimately destroy a tooth. Because the body is not able to repair a cavity in the same way that it repairs a cut on the skin, a dentist must intervene.
Fillings allow the dentist to replace the decayed material, thus saving the tooth. Before the dentist applies the filling, however, he or she must remove the decayed material. This involves the injecting of a numbing agent, which prevents the patient from feeling pain as the dentist drills out the decayed portions of the tooth. If necessary, a patient may also receive a sedative to decrease anxiety.
When the cavity is clean, the dentist introduces the filling material. Most dentists today use either composite resin or amalgam, the latter of which is made from a combination of clinical-grade metals. The dentist mixes the amalgam into a pliant material and introduces it to the tooth, where it hardens into its permanent state.
Those who prefer a more natural appearance may choose the tooth-colored composite filling, made of silica and a resin coating. Clay-like in its original form, the resin hardens after the dentist places it into the cleaned cavity and applies a special blue light.
Some dentists may also offer specialized filling options, including gold and ceramic. Patients should consult with an experienced dentist to determine whether a filling is necessary and helpful, while also considering what type of filling may be the most appropriate.