Keeping your restorations conservative
A cavity is a hole left behind after tooth decay destroys part of a tooth. The cavity in the tooth still contains the bacteria that created it. Left unchecked, this decay will continue to spread and damage the tooth. During filling procedures, dentists clean away the decay inside the cavity, usually with a drill, before filling it in. Removing the decay prevents further damage, but it doesn’t fix the damage to the tooth that already occured. That’s where fillings come in.
After your dentist removes the decay and readies the tooth, they place the filling. The specific method used to insert the filling depends on the type of filling you’re getting.
Composite Resin are the most commonly used fillings, and the ones that replicate the color of teeth. They are very durable and can last up to 15 years with very good oral hygiene. (With poor oral hygiene, the time is much shorter.) When the dentist initially inserts the composite, it’s actually in a paste form. Upon entering the cavity, the composite paste molds to the exact shape of the cavity.
Composites are placed in layers that eventually fill the cavity completely. After each layer is properly placed and shaped, it’s then “cured” in place. They accomplish this by using a bright ultraviolet light to harden it very quickly in a process called “photo-polymerization.” Polymerizing resin-based fillings using ultraviolet light is fast, safe, and very effective. Ultimately, composite resin fillings completely fill in the cavity, look natural, and restore tooth functionality very effectively.