According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIH), 59% of adolescents 12 to 19, 92% of adults 30 to 64, and 92% of seniors 65 and older have had dental caries (cavities) in their permanent teeth. Tooth decay is a progressive bacterial infection affecting your teeth. It continues to eat away your tooth structure if allowed and may migrate into your gums and jawbone if left untreated. If discovered in time, the decay can be removed, and a filling can be placed to prevent further infection. Dr. Stewart answers a few questions about tooth fillings and restorative dentistry below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What Is A Tooth Filling?
A: A filling is a type of restorative dental procedure to repair minimally damaged portions of the teeth due to cavities, fractures, or unusual use. Dr. Stewart prefers placing composite resin fillings because they are biocompatible and do not contain mercury, a harmful heavy metal found in silver fillings. Composite resins consist of a tooth colored bond mix that hardens when cured.
Q: How Is A Filling Placed?
A: Your dentist will begin with removing the decayed portion of the tooth. Anesthetic is available and is usually administered to reduce discomfort. Once the decay is removed, Dr. Stewart will shape the cavity to place a filling. Soon after, the doctor will fill the cavity with a composite resin bonding material. A curing light is used to harden the tooth filling, and the doctor will shape the filling once hardened to match the repaired tooth’s curvature.
Q: What’s The Difference Between Amalgam (Silver) Fillings And Composite Resin Fillings?
A: The following list shows the advantages of composite resin fillings over amalgam fillings:
- Do not contain mercury, a harmful heavy metal
- Tooth colored (virtually unnoticeable)
- Bond directly to tooth, creating a stronger structure
- Require less removal of enamel
Q: Who Is A Candidate For Tooth Fillings?
A: Depending on existing enamel and overall oral health, many people are candidates for tooth fillings. The purpose of a filling is to prevent the progression of decay, which means treating it early and often with regular dental checkups and cleanings.
About Dr. Stewart
James R. Stewart, Jr, DDS, PC and our compassionate staff proudly serve patients of all ages from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment, call our office today at (734) 425-4400.