All About Tooth Fillings

As the most common chronic disease in the world, tooth decay may occur even if you brush and floss your teeth and visit your dentist regularly. When allowed to progress, the bacterial tooth infection can lead to a cavity, or hole in your tooth, that will need to be cleaned and filled to stop the spread of infection. Since teeth can’t heal themselves, the effectiveness of your tooth filling may determine how long your tooth remains healthy after being treated for a cavity.

The Reason for Fillings

Infectious tooth decay begins when oral bacteria attack your tooth enamel with acid. Once enamel is compromised, germs can slip past it and infect your tooth’s main structure (dentin). A cavity forms as the infection eats away at the dentin. To stop the cavity’s growth, Dr. Wright or Dr. Heron can thoroughly clean the cavity of bacteria and infection, then fill it with a manmade material to restore the weakened tooth’s structural integrity. The filling should also seal the tooth’s interior to protect it from bacteria that could reinfect it.

The History of Metal Amalgam

In the late 1800s, many people had little choice for treating infected teeth. Gold was the standard for dental restorations at the time, and those who couldn’t afford the precious metal often had their teeth extracted to relieve the pain from cavities. When metal amalgam was introduced to the United States, it quickly became a more affordable, and highly-durable, alternative to gold fillings. Made from a mixture of silver, tin, copper, zinc, and liquid mercury, amalgam fillings can effectively restore a cavity-afflicted tooth while withstanding the pressures of biting and chewing.

How Composite Resin Improves Tooth Fillings

In more recent history, tooth-colored composite resin has quickly overtaken metal amalgam as the more preferred dental filling material. Unlike metal, resin can be tinted to match your natural tooth’s color, and bonded to your tooth’s structure to create a more effective seal against invading oral bacteria. In most cases, Dr. Wright and Dr. Heron use tooth-colored fillings, rather than metal amalgam, to create more attractive, more effective, and longer-lasting restorations.

About Your Southlake Dentists:

As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.