The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research indicates that 92 percent of Americans between the ages of 20 and 62 have had at least one dental cavity. That’s a lot of decay. What’s the best way to treat it? Dr. George T. Philip places tooth-colored fillings in his Sunnyvale, TX practice. Strong and lifelike, these fillings restore health and aesthetics to damaged teeth.
How Cavities Start
It all begins with oral bacteria–Streptococcus mutans, to be exact. It thrives in the sticky biofilm we call plaque. It also resides in hard tartar. When plaque and tartar remain on tooth surfaces, in between teeth and at the gum line, tooth decay and gum disease result.
Left untreated, decay continues to tunnel inward, through tooth enamel, dentin and even the inner tooth chamber and soft pulp. This pulp can develop an abscess, causing pain and eventual destruction of the tooth.
Fortunately, early diagnosis through visual inspection and X-ray limits the damage. Dr. George T. Philip, Sunnyvale dentist, routinely uses white composite resin to repair decay and strengthen the tooth.
Here’s How It Works
First, Dr. Philip numbs the area around the tooth to be restored. He isolates the decayed area by placing a thin rubber dam around the tooth to protect the rest of the mouth from debris. He carefully removes the damaged enamel with a high speed drill. Unlike preparing a tooth for a metal filling, this process is far more conservative, requiring removal of less enamel.
The dentist then uses an etching liquid to prepare the surface for the resin. He cures it with a special light and places the composite resin. The resin is installed in layers, each hardened with the special light. After finishing the filling, Dr. Philip polishes it to match the texture of the surrounding enamel.
Dr. Philip uses composite resin for cosmetic dentistry applications, too. He artistically repairs small gaps, chips, cracks and other aesthetic defects for a natural color, shape and texture. With proper brushing, flossing and in-office check-ups and cleaning, composite resin fillings and aesthetic treatments last for years. Plus, they don’t stain.
Of course, diligent at-home hygiene and in-office care support good oral health. Beyond these, patients should:
- Eat a nutritious, low-sugar diet high in fibrous vegetables and fruit, low-fat dairy for calcium and low-fat meats and fish
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily to wash teeth and gums and to promote beneficial saliva production
- Wear protective mouth guards for sports and if tooth grinding is a consistent problem
- Avoid chewing super-hard foods, such as taffy, and never bite open plastic packaging or bottles.
Fill Those Cavities
It’s an easy enough process, and the result is a beautiful and strong smile. If you suspect you have a cavity, contact the office of George T. Philip DMD for an appointment.