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 Composite Fillings as having good durability and resistance to fracture in small to mid-size fillings in both front and back teeth. While sufficiently durable and strong the Composite Filling is not regarded to be of equal durability and strength as an Amalgam Filling, but has the advantage of a more natural looking restoration and is usually the option that the Dentist chooses for front or highly visible restorations to help maintain a greater continuity of the patient's presentation.
For general restoration the Composite Filling is often a less cost effective option, particularly when a larger restorative filling may be necessary in a back tooth. However, it is almost always an option and the Dentist will provide sufficient information regarding the restoration and comply with the patient's desire regarding the type of filling preferred.
Restoration by Composite Filling:
The restoration of a Tooth Cavity by means of a Composite 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 Composite 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.