Filling the Need

dental fillings Caries.

Who knows what that is? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

It’s the most common form of oral disease known to man, dental caries. The process of getting caries is called tooth decay.

OK, you know them as cavities. But that’s really a misnomer. That term probably came from the fact that once the dentist cleans out the decay, what is left is a cavity. And that cavity can’t be left open, as food debris and bacteria would become lodged in there. It needs to be filled.

Hence, the name “filling.”

At Gentle Dental we fill dental caries every day. To us it’s like falling off a log, although that idiom really makes no sense to us. Maybe we could say filling them is “easy as pie.” But pie’s not really easy, either. Oh well. We’re pros with all types of fillings!

Types of fillings at Gentle Dental

Most of you are familiar with silver fillings. Well, they’re not really silver, they’re actually mostly mercury! Holy bottom of Lake Erie, Batman! Yes, that is disconcerting to many people. Silver fillings are made of silver amalgam. To make them, we mix mercury (50% of the eventual filling) with a powder comprised of silver, copper, tin, or zinc (usually a combination of some or all of those). There really isn’t any potential for harm from the mercury in your amalgam fillings. They’ve been studied by the FDA and they’ve been used since the 1800s. Still, some people don’t like the idea of being like a fish at the bottom of Lake Erie.

Composite fillings are becoming more and more popular because they are very close to tooth color. The resin is made of a mixture of plastic and glass. Problem is composite fillings are not as durable as amalgam and cost more.

Ceramic or porcelain fillings have the admirable quality of being durable and having high aesthetic value because their color can closely match the natural color of the patient’s teeth. They are more expensive, but resist staining and aren’t easily scratched as composite resin can be.

Glass ionomer fillings are made of a combination of acrylic and glass. They are intended for children’s baby teeth because they only last five years and release fluoride to strengthen the surrounding natural teeth.

Gold fillings used to be popular, but not so much anymore because they are very visible and expensive. Still, they are very durable, sturdy, and non-corrosive.

When you have a decayed tooth, we’ll discuss your options for filling the cavity. If you’re between cleanings, and you have pain in a tooth, it can be a sign of decay that needs to be addressed before it enters areas such as the tooth root. Call us at Gentle Dental, (732) 549-5660, and we’ll take care of it.

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