So you got the news that you have a cavity. Now you have to have a filling. What does that mean exactly?
In your West Seattle dentist office, Dr. Christine Kirchner does tooth colored fillings. Silver fillings, or Amalgam fillings, used to be the standard in the dental world. They weren’t too pretty, but they would last a long time. With the advancement of dental technology, a different option is now available. And not only is it more esthetically pleasing, but it is also just as durable as and more conservative than the old amalgam fillings.
Composite fillings, or tooth colored fillings, use a hybrid of resin materials to form a material that can be matched to the exact color of your tooth. It is also different than an amalgam filling in the way it is placed in the tooth. With the old silver fillings, the dentist would drill out the cavity (yes I said drill, that is in fact what they are doing), pack mold-able metal material into the hole that was left, and then tell you to be careful with it for about 24 hours so that it could harden all the way. With this method, the way the tooth is prepared is more about creating a space that the metal filling will stay in, not so much only about getting the decay out.
With composite fillings, the process is a little different. Dr. Kirchner can be more conservative (remember, that’s the name of the game around this office!) about removing tooth structure. She can just get the decay out, not also take down the rest of the tooth with it. The way composite fillings work is this: Once the decay is removed, Dr. Kirchner will use three cleaners to prepare the tooth. The first is an anti-microbial solution that makes sure all the bacteria is out of there. The 2nd prepares the tooth to receive the bond, kind of helps open up the pores of the tooth so to speak. The third is the actual bond, which helps the filling material chemically stick to the tooth. Now that the tooth is prepared, she can start layering filling material into the tooth. The filling material is kind of like tooth colored play-doh. She’ll take a tiny little bit at a time (enough to build a 3mm thick layer!) and use a little tool to pack it into all the nooks and crannies. After each layer she’ll have one of her lovely assistants use a special light that cures, or hardens the filling material. After she puts the last layer in, she’ll use some of her other special tools to make it look just like a tooth. Then she’ll make sure everything is smooth like an ice skating rink and VOILA! You have a perfectly whole and intact tooth again! And the best part is: no silver!
See? Don’t you feel better about the whole process already? Easy peasy! If you’ve had a cavity diagnosed ,give the office a call and get an appointment scheduled to have that filling done!