Protect Your Smile From Cavities

Patients of all ages are susceptible to cavities, and studies show that one in five Americans suffer from untreated cavities. A cavity is a hollow space in your teeth that results from poor hygiene.

Treating cavities before they can cause irreversible damage to your teeth and mouth is essential to preserving the longevity of your smile. If left untreated, things get progressively worse and can result in the need for a root canal, tooth extraction, or in worse cases, periodontal disease

Discover how Dr. Jackson can protect the health of your smile with dental fillings.

Cavity Origin Story
Cavity Origin Story

Your mouth has its own unique microbiome that’s filled with organisms that break down food, move resources from your mouth to the rest of your body, and protect your body from harm. However, things can become unbalanced when food is left sitting in your mouth for too long and this can lead to a host of problems. One of the most common is cavities. 

Without proper oral care such as brushing, flossing, and rinsing after meals, this debris is left to develop unhealthy bacteria in your mouth. When the bacteria builds up in your mouth, it will form a sticky, film-like substance called plaque on the surface of your teeth. If not removed, the plaque can harden into calculus (tartar) which can only be removed by special dental tools. 

Both plaque and tartar can eat away at the hard outer layer of your teeth (enamel) causing the cavity. Some cavities don’t cause any pain which is why so many go untreated and why it’s important to schedule regular checkups. Whether the pain is present or not, cavities put you at risk for a variety of dental problems including periodontal disease and even tooth loss if not addressed.

Types of Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are designed to fill in the hollow spaces, cracks, and crevices that cavities cause in order to restore your tooth to full strength. This not only improves the appearance of your teeth but also serves as an effective way to protect your tooth from further damage. As well, dental fillings are a reliable way to prevent the bacteria from working their way down into the roots and your gums. 

At State Street Smiles, our Hackensack dentist offers both silver and composite fillings for patients of all ages to address cavities and prevent further tooth decay.

Amalgam Fillings

  • Amalgam fillings are made from tin, copper, silver, and mercury. 
  • They are a traditional option for fillings but are more noticeable due to their silver metallic-like appearance. 
  • The metals in amalgam fillings are incredibly durable and can last for 10-15 years. 
  • They are susceptible to hot and cold temperatures and can expand and contract as a result. In the worst-case scenario, this can cause the tooth to crack. 
  • Because metal fillings don’t bond to the tooth, a larger portion of the healthy teeth must be removed in order to place them. 
  • Amalgam fillings harden quicker and take less time to place.

Composite Fillings

  • Composite fillings (tooth-colored fillings) are made from composite resin material. 
  • They are color-matched to your natural teeth which provide patients with an added benefit of discretion.
  • Composite fillings typically last for about five years, but depending on the location, they may last longer. Fillings in the front teeth can last upwards of 10 or more years. 
  • They are resistant to temperature changes. 
  • Composite fillings bond to the tooth, which means less of your natural teeth needs to be removed before placing them and the natural strength of your teeth is preserved. 
  • The procedure of placing them is more involved. The composite resin material must be placed in layers and with each layer, a laser or ultraviolet light is needed to harden each layer.
Sealants vs. Fillings
Sealants vs. Fillings

Dental sealants are a preventive treatment used to cover a portion of the tooth in order to prevent any damage from occurring. They may be applied to teeth that are susceptible to cavities. 

Dental fillings are a restorative treatment used to repair the damage caused by cavities. They are necessary to restore a tooth to full function after the cavity has formed. 

Depending on your unique situation, Dr. Jackson may recommend a sealant instead of a filling. Regular dental visits are imperative to ensure we can prevent cavities or address them early on so they don’t worsen.

Aftercare For Dental Fillings
Aftercare For Dental Fillings
  • Following the procedure, some patients experience tooth sensitivities, especially to cold or hot sensations. However, once you become accustomed to the filling, they will subside. 
  • You can brush and floss your teeth as normal following the procedure. 
  • Do not eat solid foods for up to 24 hours after the procedure. 
  • Avoid sticky, chewy, or hard foods for up to two weeks following the procedure.

Placing Your Filling

During your consultation, Dr. Jackson will perform a thorough examination of your teeth to identify any problem areas and identify any existing cavities. Depending on the condition, we’ll determine which filling to use and how best to restore your smile and repair the cavity. 

During your procedure, Dr. Jackson will numb the area using a local anesthetic to ensure a painless experience. First, we’ll prepare your tooth to receive the filling by thoroughly cleaning it to remove any tooth decay. If there is any decay near the tooth nerve, Dr. Jackson will administer a special medication to provide an extra layer of protection. 

From there, we’ll place, shape and polish the filling so as to restore both the function and shape of the tooth. Placing your amalgam or composite filling can be completed within one visit and there is no downtime afterward. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are amalgam fillings safe?
How long do dental fillings last?
Are amalgam fillings safe?

Yes! According to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Dental Association (ADA), amalgam fillings are safe for use. However, there are precautions we take when placing or removing fillings to avoid unnecessary exposure to mercury. 

Some patients may have sensitivities to amalgam fillings. If this is the case, Dr. Jackson may recommend an alternative solution such as our composite fillings.

How long do dental fillings last?

Depending on the location of your fillings and your oral hygiene, your dental fillings can last for years. If you suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding), Dr. Jackson may recommend a nightguard to help protect your filling. 

Amalgam fillings can last upwards of 15 years, while composite fillings can last from five to ten years.

Dr. Jackson Can Repair Your Cavities

The sooner a cavity is treated, the less pain and damage it can cause. Contact our Hackensack office at (201) 487-7030 or fill out the form below to learn more about our dental fillings. We look forward to hearing from you!

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