Tooth fillings are required when teeth are affected by tooth decay.
Tooth decay is damage that occurs when germs (bacteria) in your mouth make acids that eat away at a tooth. It can lead to a hole in the tooth, called a cavity. If not treated, tooth decay can cause pain, infection, and tooth loss.
A tooth has three layers.
- The hard outer layer is called enamel.
- The middle layer is called dentin.
- The center of the tooth is called the pulp. It contains nerves and blood vessels.
The more layers that are affected by decay, the worse the damage.
What causes tooth decay?
Bacteria and food can cause tooth decay. A clear, sticky substance called plaque is always forming on your teeth and gums. Plaque contains bacteria that feed on the sugars in the food you eat.
As the bacteria feed, they make acids. The acids attack the teeth for 20 minutes or more after you eat. Over time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, causing tooth decay.
Things that make you more likely to have tooth decay include:
- Not brushing and flossing your teeth regularly and not seeing a dentist for checkups and cleanings.
- Eating foods that are high in sugar and other carbohydrates, which feed the bacteria in your mouth.
- Not getting enough fluoride.
- Not having enough saliva. Saliva washes away food and harmful sugars, so it helps protect your teeth from decay.
- Having diabetes.
Children, whose teeth are still growing, are more likely than adults to have tooth decay. Therefore needing tooth fillings. This is because the minerals in new teeth are not very strong and are easier for acids to eat away.
Read more about how to prevent caries in children …….
What are tooth Fillings?
Tooth fillings are are used to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. By closing off spaces where bacteria can enter, a filling also helps prevent further decay.
What steps are involved in filling a tooth ?
The dentist first removes the decayed tooth material, cleans the affected area and then fills the cleaned out cavity with a filling material.
At Bay Smile Dental, we use tooth colored material (composite resin) for most fillings. Several steps are required for tooth-colored fillings and are as follows. After your dentist has removed the decay and cleaned the area, the tooth-colored material is applied in layers. Next, a special light that “cures” or hardens each layer is applied. When the multilayering process is completed, the dentist will shape the composite material to the desired result, trim off any excess material, and polish the final restoration.
Why replace a filling ?
Fillings that have worn away, chipped, cracked or fallen out may leave gaps between the tooth and the filling. Food particles and decay causing bacteria can work their way between the worn filling and the tooth. Decay may develop along the edge of the filling and under-neath it. Decay that is undiagnosed and untreated can progress to infect the dental pulp (which contains the tooth’s nerve and blood supply). This often results in the need for root canal treatment or possibly tooth extraction / loss of tooth.
During examination, the dentist determines if the existing tooth fillings are intact or if they have cracked or worn away. Dental X-rays may be taken to help detect decay under existing dental fillings. If the dentist finds evidence that a filling has failed or detects decay on the x-ray, the dental filling should be replaced promptly.
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Fremont Dentist Dr. Jaspreet Harika DDS is an experienced dentist serving Fremont, Newark CA, Union City, Hayward, Milpitas and surrounding areas. Practicing general and cosmetic dentistry. She uses gentle techniques to perform dental procedures like root canal. She makes it a painless dental experience for her patients.
Serving zip code 94536, 94538, 94539, 94541, 94542, 94555, 94560, 94587, 95035, and beyond.