We take your smile seriously.

Do You Have A Cavity?

A cavity is the term often used to describe the process of dental caries.  Caries is a bacterial infection of a tooth.  It starts as a weakness in the outer enamel layer.  As caries progress, they can perforate the enamel and infect the softer underlying layer called dentine.  It is at this time that a tooth requires a filling.

A shallow cavity will not usually be sensitive.  They are often diagnosed visually or by x-ray during a dental examination. This is when they are easiest to repair with conservative fillings.  As cavities get deeper, teeth may become sensitive or even begin to ache.  These deeper cavities tend to be more compicated, and costly, to repair.

A filling is a common procedure to repair a cavity or hole in a tooth. But did you know you have options? For many years, silver amalgam was most commonly used in fillings. Today, other materials are widely used and you have more choices than ever. There are now silver, gold, or even virtually invisible white fillings. There is no longer a standard filling that’s right for every situation.

There are two categories of fillings:

Indirect fillings An indirect filling may be necessary when a cavity is too large for a direct filling. These fillings are fabricated outside of the mouth. This allows for strengthening of the filling using processes that cannot be used in the mouth. It commonly takes two appointments to place an indirect filling. Indirect fillings can be made of gold, porcelain or white composite resin. Each material has its own unique advantages and indications for use. Talk to us about the right material to meet your needs.

Direct fillings These fillings are made up directly in the mouth and are commonly completed in one appointment. Direct fillings can be made of silver amalgam or white composite resin.

Amalgam is the grey/black material once commonly referred to as a filling. It is now only one of a number of acceptable materials available to restore the form and function of a tooth. It will not, unfortunately, restore the appearance of a tooth due to its color.  Amalgam fillings take a full 24 hours to cure.

Composite resin fillings are the white direct fillings. In addition to restoring the form and function of a tooth these fillings can be matched to the color of the tooth. Teeth with white fillings look natural, not repaired.  White fillings are completely set(cured) when you leave your appointment and the tooth can be used right away.