Tooth decay. Cavities. Just mentioning either conjures up images of something vague but painful. But the real pain comes from not doing something about it. If you try to ignore tooth decay, you’re not just going to be in a lot of pain. You could easily lose the tooth. Thankfully, the dentists at our Leesburg, VA dental office can use tooth-colored fillings to repair the damage.
Some people think cavities are caused by sugar, but that’s not exactly true. In your mouth, you’ll find some bacteria. They live off of the tiny particles of food and drink that get stuck on and around your teeth whenever you eat or drink. These bacteria secrete an acid that can decay the enamel on your teeth, and that’s what causes tooth decay. Sugar is especially yummy to these bacteria, which is why sugary foods and drinks are associated with tooth decay and cavities. (And that’s also why brushing and flossing regularly is so important. The cleaner your teeth, the less food there is for those harmful bacteria.)
The material used to fill in a cavity has changed over the years. In the past, most fillings were made of a combination of metals including silver and mercury, and that mix was called an amalgam. If you have a metal filling in a tooth, chances are it’s an amalgam filling. While effective, amalgam fillings certainly do not look nice in your mouth. At our Leesburg, VA dental office, we never use metal amalgam fillings. Instead, we use a composite resin material that matches the color of your teeth. The cavity is still taken care of, but it looks much better.
While some dental offices still use metal amalgam fillings, we decided to stick with composite ones instead. Amalgam is often made with a small amount of mercury, a metal that is toxic to the human body. While studies are mixed as to whether that small amount in metal fillings can be harmful, we’d rather be safe than sorry. Besides, the newest composite materials offer durability and protection just as metal amalgam does.
To fill in the cavity, our dentists will first need to remove the decayed enamel. This gets rid of the harmful bacteria still present on your tooth. Your enamel has no nerve endings, but to make sure you don’t feel discomfort, we will likely administer a local anesthetic to numb the area before we do anything. Placing the filling itself is easy and causes no discomfort. And if you are still worried, we can discuss using sedation dentistry to help get you past any concerns.
Living with a cavity is dangerous, as it can ruin your tooth permanently. With our tooth-colored fillings, we can repair the damage and make your teeth look (and feel) great again. For more information on tooth fillings, or to schedule your next appointment, call our office today at 703-297-4353 or use our convenient online form.