When acid producing bacteria build up on your teeth, trouble is sure to ensue. Cavities are the bane of a dentist’s existence. Without them, we would most likely be out of the job, living on the streets, injecting ourselves with the left over novocaine.
However, even the miracle chemical Fluoride has far from eliminated cavities. So, what happens when the acid erodes your teeth and forms a hole, or cavity?
Well, the bacteria must be removed, and that is accomplished by the dreaded drills that strike fear into the eyes of most dentist-goers. We drill out the cavities in different ways, depending on where they are. Most cavities occur on the chewing surfaces of back molars. Other usual suspects though are between the back and front teeth.
Once all of the tooth decay is drilled and scooped out of the tooth, a filling material is put in the hole in order to keep the tooth from getting recurrent (new) decay in the area.
“Silver fillings contain mercury which can cause serious birth defects and life-threatening illnesses,” some people say. That is completely 100% false and there has been zero evidence to show it it be true. The amount of mercury in amalgam (silver) fillings is minuscule, and it is in a form that is harmless to humans. Amalgam fillings last a long time, and have a great success rate, however in today’s image conscious society, who wants metal in their mouth?
Composite fillings are the way of the future. Tooth-colored composites can be matched exactly to a person’s natural tooth color, making them invisible to the untrained eye. Although they tend not to last as long as silver fillings, and can leak if not inserted properly, advances in composite technology show that one day they will make amalgam obsolete.
So, composite or amalgam is packed into the drilled out hole in your tooth, and then shaved down to resemble the original tooth.
All said and done, and expert like Dr. Linhart can perform an average filling anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on its size. For a newcomer like myself, a 2 hour filling gives me pride.
Have any questions about fillings? Let me know in the comments.