Most people experience dental decay, commonly known as cavities or caries, at least once in their lifetime. A cavity forms when the enamel of a tooth begins to decay, forming a hole. Tooth decay can develop as a result of several factors, including lifestyle habits, the kinds of food we eat, dental hygiene practices, and genetics. Because many cavities are asymptomatic and painless, the only way to know if you have one is by scheduling a caries exam with an experienced dentist.
If a cavity is discovered in its early stages, it can be treated with a filling. Before placing the filling, your dentist will carefully remove all traces of decay from the cavity. Traditionally, dentists have used silver amalgam fillings to restore teeth successfully, but new composite fillings are quickly becoming more popular due to their versatility and visually appealing qualities.
Benefits of Composite Fillings
Composite fillings have been used in dentistry for many years and are ideal for creating fillings that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. These modern restorations deliver superior results because they:
- Are customized to match the color of your natural teeth
- Can treat small to moderate cavities
- Do not darken the teeth
Drawbacks of Amalgam Fillings
Amalgam fillings have a long history in dentistry and can provide lasting improvement. While they can seal a tooth and help with decay prevention, many dentists are turning away from amalgam fillings because they:
- Are more noticeable
- Can darken the tooth over time
- Can increase the risk of tooth fractures
Practicing proper oral hygiene at home and regularly visiting your dentist can help reduce your risk of developing cavities and other dental conditions. Generally, patients are advised to care for their teeth by brushing twice a day and flossing daily. You should also limit your intake of starchy, sugary, and acidic foods to minimize enamel erosion.
Treating dental cavities is essential for maintaining optimal oral health. To schedule your dental appointment with Dr. Christine Chung, please call (551)222-4493.