Composite Fillings in Twin Falls, ID
As a child, you may have had a cavity or two. You probably attributed this to eating too much candy and not brushing frequently enough. Now that you’re an adult, you monitor your sugar intake and follow a strict oral hygiene regimen. As a result, your risk of tooth decay has decreased dramatically, right?
Not really. In a scientific study of adults between the ages of 20 and 64, 92% had developed cavities, also called dental caries, in their permanent teeth. The study also revealed that families with higher incomes and more education had a higher incidence of decay.
Given these statistics, chances are you will need to have a cavity filled at some point in your adult life. Also known as “restorations,” fillings repair and strengthen decayed or damaged teeth. Fillings prevent further tooth decay and are the most common procedure performed by dentists in the United States.
What Causes Cavities?
Bacteria, not sugary foods, are ultimately responsible for the formation of dental cavities. Sugar does encourage the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth to flourish, but tooth decay is the result of the acid produced by these bacteria as they break down carbohydrates. This acid, when mixed with saliva, forms plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance that adheres to your teeth, slowly eating away at the protective enamel coating and creating tiny holes. If this decay progresses unchecked, eventually a cavity develops.
Other factors that contribute to the incidence of cavities include:
- Consumption of acidic foods and beverages
- Medications that reduce the production of saliva
- A genetic predisposition to periodontal disease
Of course, poor oral hygiene is a major contributor to the formation of dental caries. Thoroughly brushing and flossing twice daily helps to remove bacterial plaque before it can cause damage.
How Do I Know if I Have a Cavity?
Cavities start out very small. Usually, cavities are detected by your dentist before you’ve even noticed any symptoms, such as a toothache. To check for tooth decay, Dr. Wright probes the soft spots between teeth and the rough surfaces where bacteria tend to proliferate. X-rays will confirm the presence of a cavity.
How Is a Cavity Treated?
Following the administration of a local anesthetic, the decayed portion of the tooth is completely removed using specialized dental instruments. The empty space is filled with a composite resin filling. Unlike metal fillings, composite fillings are designed to match the color of your teeth, making them virtually invisible. Composite fillings bond tightly to the remaining portion of the tooth, helping to strengthen and support the structure for many years.
Good home hygiene and regular dental cleanings are the best way to prevent the formation of cavities. The sooner a cavity is detected, the easier it is to remove and repair. Postponing your visit only increases the likelihood that you will need more involved treatment down the road. If more than six months has passed since your last dental exam, call the office of Mark W. Wright, DDS, today to schedule a comprehensive exam.