For many people, their lifestyles revolve around their mouths. Whether it is speaking, cooking, or eating, our bodies gather the nutrition they need to sustain themselves through whatever we feed it. From the initial tooth that takes the first few bites of solid food to clear communication, having good oral health is imperative to human development. If something happens to one of those teeth, extraction is the last option we here at Olympia Prosthodontics & Cosmetic Dentistry want to resort to, which is why we dedicate our time to helping you get the most out of your teeth through preventative care and treatment.
How Tooth Decay Affects the Mouth
With each bite of food, every tooth is in danger of getting cavities. These are holes that may appear on the enamel. They are caused by the bacteria that reside in the mouth, which eat the excess sugar you leave behind after a meal. As they consume, they leave behind a residue that may leave your teeth feeling fuzzy, which is called plaque. Once you can feel that growing, it is a clear indication your teeth are in danger of decay. The best way to remove it is through brushing and flossing to get particles of food off.
If the plaque is neglected, it could evolve into a chalky substance called tartar. It could cause wearing of the enamel and irritate the gums. Plaque that is allowed to build up under the gum line can cause inflammation, which may cause your gums to swell up or even bleed. This is the first sign you may have the precursor to the gum disease, gingivitis, and you should make an appointment as soon as you can have it treated.
Preventing Tooth Decay
During your appointment, you will have a thorough cleaning. We will make note of any areas that may have been attacked by decay and could recommend something called a filling. When you receive your filling, first the decay is removed from your tooth. Depending on where the tooth is located determines what type of filler we may use in the cavity.
Most people know of someone who has a silver metal in the back of their teeth. This is an amalgam blend consisting of a unique combination of silver, mercury, copper, or tin, and because it can be quite durable is usually best to use in the back molars. It is also most often used in treating special needs patients and small children because of how quickly it can set. Even though many may be concerned about the mercury levels, there is only a very small amount of mercury mixed into the amalgam, which means your overall exposure could be practically nothing.
Another option is the composite resin filling, which is often preferred for the more noticeable front teeth. It can be dyed to match your teeth, which makes it look even more natural. Porcelain is also used for the front teeth but can be considered more fragile and prone to chipping. As long as you take good care of your teeth, a composite filling should last for about a decade.
Fillings are used to stop the growth of bacteria and prevent deterioration of your enamel. If you would like to learn more about the types of fillings we offer and which ones might work best for you, do not hesitate to give us here at Olympia Prosthodontics & Cosmetic Dentistry a call at (360) 339-4944 to schedule an appointment to discuss your options with us.