Lake Oswego, OR
Why do teeth decay?The inside of your mouth houses an ecosystem of life. Bacteria thrive in your mouth, living off of the remnants of the foods that you eat. We refer to this variety of bacteria as plaque. Plaque is one of the main reasons you brush and floss, by doing so you brush the buildup of plaque from the surfaces of your teeth. If it is allowed to build up, plaque can thrive on your teeth and eventually begin to eat away at the enamel.
If left for long enough, plaque will harden into a cement-like substance that’s called tartar. The bacteria will keep eating away at the structure of your tooth. When a tooth is compromised by decay we will need to first remove the plaque or tartar surrounding the area, clean up the decaying portion of the tooth, and fill in the gap with a filling.
What is a filling?When we talk about fillings, we are talking primarily about the material we use to fill the void left from removing decay in your tooth. A number of different filling materials work well in different situations. The type of material we use will depend on a number of contributing factors, some of which are:
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Amalgam FillingsAmalgam fillings are what we all think of when we hear the word “filling”. They are typically large and metallic in appearance. They are made up of a mixture of tin, copper, silver, and mercury. Because of the properties of amalgam fillings, a larger amount of the tooth will need to be drilled in order to accommodate them. Amalgam fillings are strong, durable, and cheap. On the other hand, they require more tooth to be drilled, and they can be unsightly.
Composite FillingsComposite fillings are also known as “tooth colored fillings”. They are made using a composite resin of plastic and glass to match the color of your tooth exactly. Composite fillings require a much smaller surface area to make a successful filling. This means less of your tooth needs to be sacrificed in order for you to receive a composite filling. They are extremely hard to see in your mouth, are durable, and long lasting. They tend to be a costlier option than that of their amalgam counterparts but given their long lifespan they make up their expense.
Composite vs Amalgam Filling
Gold FillingsGold fillings are one of the longest lasting and most durable options when it comes to fillings. Of all fillings materials, gold most closely matches the qualities of teeth. Gold fillings are known to last up to 20 years. With some gold fillings it will require that you make two trips to our office as the larger ones will need to be manufactured in a dental laboratory. The aesthetic of gold fillings is a big draw for some people.
The ProcedureThe procedure for receiving a filling is straightforward. We begin by cleaning the surface of the tooth and applying a numbing agent to the gum line. The process of drilling a tooth creates a lot of heat and vibrations which can be an annoyance if we don’t numb the area. Once the site is numb we will remove any decay from the tooth using a dental drill. To finalize the procedure, we will fill the void left with the filling material.
You should expect feeling to return to the area within a few hours. We do our best to ensure the filling will fit within your bite. If after the procedure you find your teeth don’t fit together quite right call us and setup a follow-up appointment. It is very easy for us to make minor changes to ensure you are comfortable with the new filling.
Call us today at (503) 765-7300 to schedule you appointment!