Tooth Cavities can be discovered in a variety of ways such as a patient coming in for an Emergency Exam or expressing unusual sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweets. However, the most common way that Tooth Cavities are discovered are through one of the patient's annual Preventative Care or Prophy Exams during which the Hygienist and Dentist are giving thorough attention to the care of the patient's teeth and identifying areas that may need attention in the future or that are in need of restoration work as soon as the patient is available for an appointment to preserve a small or newly forming cavity from becoming a larger cavity.
Treatment Options for Cavities:
When a Tooth Cavity is discovered there are two primary treatment options that the Douglasville Family Dental Center offers: Amalgam Fillings and Composite Fillings.
The American Dental Association has identified Amalgam Fillings as safe and affordable fillings that consists of durable material for Tooth Cavity restoration. The nature of the material does present with a silver or metallic like appearance so while it is the hardier of the tooth filling options there are occasions that some patients choose a composite alternative. The Dentist will also option to use the composite filling versus the amalgam filling for front or highly visible restorations to help maintain a greater continuity of the patient's presentation.
The advantage of the Amalgam Filling is that it is a harder and more substantial filling material and therefore provides a longer restoration. The Amalgam Filling is also a more cost effective option, particularly when a larger restorative filling may be necessary in a back tooth.
Restoration by Amalgam Filling:
The restoration of a Tooth Cavity by means of an Amalgam Filling is usually among the simpler procedures but the procedure time and technique will vary on the location and size of the Tooth Cavity. The process includes removing the decay or problem portion of the tooth, an etching of the surface being treated - preparing it for the bonding agent, the application of the filling material, and finally a refining of the surface to make it smooth, pleasant, and complimentary to the original biting surface. The entire procedure is usually completed in one visit and does not require further treatment for the immediate restoration.
During the first appointment of the restoration process the patient is usually numbed, unless they request not to be numbed or have a medical conflict with numbing materials, and the patient is afforded the use of anxiety reducing Dental Gas (a controlled mixture of medical grade Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen).
For additional information about Amalgam Fillings contact us directly - we will be more than happy to assist you in your understanding and determining the best treatment option for you or your loved one.