Tooth decay, also known as a cavity, is caused by bacteria (Streptococcus mutans) that thrive in acidic environments. S. mutans loves to feed on basic sugars and starches that we consume as food. As the bacteria grow, they will cause a degradation of tooth structure, eat away at the enamel, and destroy deeper layers of dental tissue, unless the cavity is removed. If tooth decay goes untreated, it will eventually lead to tooth loss and/or gum disease.
When a cavity is removed, a dental filling fills the void and restores the tooth. At Classic Dental Smiles, Dr. Brian Chan will use tooth-colored composite resin to repair and protect a tooth with a cavity. As a safe and predictable approach, we believe that white fillings are superior to amalgam, for strengthening a tooth after decay has been eliminated.
Compared to amalgam fillings, our patients also enjoy that composite fillings are white, designed to look and react more like natural teeth. Dr. Chan can also replace unattractive amalgam fillings with white fillings to match the natural look of your smile.
If you have a toothache caused by a cavity, we can treat it with a tooth-colored filling. Call our Rancho Bernardo, CA, office today at (858) 925-5914 to schedule your checkup with Dr. Brian Chan to find the relief you deserve.
How to Decide if a Filling is Right For You
Before Dr. Chan treats your cavity, there are several questions to address, such as:
- What are your esthetic expectations?
- Where will the filling be placed in your mouth?
- How big is the cavity?
- How difficult will it be to access the cavity and place the filling?
If your cavity is severe, Dr. Chan may recommend a same-day dental crown or partial crown (inlay or onlay) to strengthen the tooth. For mild tooth decay, he may recommend a filling, and for pre-decay, identified by soft areas of demineralization in tooth enamel, he may suggest remineralization. This involves using a special toothpaste and mouthwash to help the enamel fight off the bacteria, so that decay never gains a foothold. Of course, Dr. Chan will also keep a close eye on the demineralized area, when you come in for checkups.
If you don’t have a cavity, but you are interested in changing the appearance of your tooth due to cracks, chips, worn edges, or discoloration, Dr. Chan can use composite resin to administer a treatment called bonding. He can add structure to a tooth with composite resin or layer on a composite veneer to esthetically improve the look of a tooth.
What to Expect When Getting a Filling
Before making a recommendation, we will conduct a complete examination, with digital x-rays and photos, to determine the extent of your cavity and identify any other issues. Dr. Chan will help you understand the condition of your tooth and thoroughly explain the different options available.
If Dr. Chan determines that a dental filling is necessary, he will administer a local anesthetic and carefully remove the bacteria and clean the tooth. Then, he will gently reshape the tooth and roughen the enamel so that the filling securely bonds. Once the tooth is prepared, Dr. Chan will apply the composite resin in layers, using a special curing light to harden the filling. Finally, he will trim away excess resin and polish the tooth to reveal a beautifully restoration.
To make your experience more comfortable, we offer plush blankets and noise-cancelling headphones while your dental filling is being placed. If you struggle with dental anxiety or phobia, we can provide sedation to make your experience more calming.
Caring for Your Smile
After your dental filling has been placed, your tooth will be strengthened and protected. However, once we restore a tooth that has had a cavity, follow a good oral hygiene routine to ward off bad oral bacteria. The best way to do this is by:
- Brushing twice a day
- Flossing daily
- Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash
- Visiting the dentist every six months for regular checkups
Contact Us Today
Please take some time to review videos and written testimonials of happy patients who have received white fillings at Classic Dental smiles. We look forward to treating you or your loved one. To schedule a checkup with Dr. Chan, give us a call today our Rancho Bernardo, CA, office at (858) 925-5914.