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Don’t you hate street potholes? They ruin your smooth morning drives. When the city is made aware of these road rage-inducing problems, they fill them right up with cement. Getting a dental filling is no different. 

Just like potholes develop on old roads, cavities develop on unkept teeth due to lack of cleaning and the accumulation of plaque. This slimy substance causes tooth decay that in turn, leads to these tooth potholes. If you are a frequent snacker and like to nosh on sugary treats often, then cavities are inevitable. The thing about these sugary nectars from the gods is that yes, they taste good, but they also cause wear and tear on your enamel (the outer part of your teeth that shields them from outside forces). Plaque is so disgustingly sticky that it begins to break down your enamel and an enamel sinkhole begins to form. Thus, a cavity is born.  

So it’s no wonder why cavities are so common among children. Those who eat dessert for breakfast, like Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Pop Tarts, are more susceptible to a breakdown of enamel. As we age, our gums begin to recede, which exposes them even further to plaque. Here are a few helpful tips for avoiding tooth decay:

  • Brush twice a day with a solid fluoride toothpaste
  • Eat the healthy stuff and ditch the candy cereals
  • Don’t just brush, also floss between your teeth daily
  • Get regular cleanings (Mill Dam Dental can help you schedule regular appointments so you don’t ever miss a cleaning). 

The tug-of-war game between bacteria and fluoride is an epic one. It’s a battle that will last the rest of your life, but the good guys will win if you consistently follow the right steps. Because the moment you fall into the pattern of eating candy often and going to sleep without brushing or flossing, the decay process will begin. If it has already begun, it’s not too late to get back on track.

Brushing and flossing aren’t the only ways to fight the brave fight. Check out dental sealants, which are a great way to prevent tooth decay. This thin shield-like coating is made out of plastic and they are made to prevent cavities from forming, even at their early stages of development. They are placed right over the cavity and prevent further bacteria and grime from getting in there. According to the CDC, “school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.”

At Mill Dam Dental, we offer fillings to restore tooth shape and functionality. It all starts with the numbing process, which is very important to us. Sedation Dentistry is a fine art that we focus on for more optimum comfort. Numbing the areas in question is crucial in achieving this level of comfort. We don’t want you to feel a thing. Debunking Myths About Sedation Dentistry is easy, especially with the cold hard facts out there. 

Once the anaesthetic is applied, a drill, or sometimes a laser is used to remove the decayed area. This area will then be cleaned of all bacteria, grime, grit, slime and any sort of nasty debris. The filling process is next by preparing the surface with a solution that chemically smooths out the surface. Once it’s smoothed over, it’s time to place the composite resin inside. What exactly is this resin?

Think of composite resin as the cement that fills the pothole on the road. It’s a filling material specifically made for aesthetic dental restorations. Even the color of the material is the same exact color of your tooth and if your teeth are yellowish in their hue, they’ll even use composite resin that matches that color. Because you don’t want to have that one awkward, discolored tooth.

 There is no cement truck involved during this procedure, but there are plenty of dental tools such as a special curing light used to make sure the layers of resin are solidified. It’s amazing how this resin basically becomes one with your tooth until you won’t even notice the difference. It’s officially a part of you now and will live as long as the tooth does. 

While resin fillings act as the cement filling the pothole, amalgam fillings use a silver amalgam material that is pressed into the cavity, carving and shaping into the perfect contour. While they last for a very long time, they are way more noticeable than resin fillings because they aren’t molded into your teeth with the same color. Your dentist will be able to let you know whether or not you need a resin or amalgam filling. It all depends on the unique structure of your tooth, or whatever is leftover from your decayed pearly white. 

Then there’s that of a glass ionomer cement as an alternative to resin or amalgams. These fillings create a chemical reaction inside your tooth, releasing the fluoride needed to prevent further decay. Because this is a relatively weak treatment, it’s only used on cute baby teeth.

Just because we have failed our teeth with sugar and plaque bombs doesn’t mean we can’t save them. With dental artistry and dental sedation, amazing things are possible. And because our teeth are all so unique and decay in different ways, there are many techniques used to save them. But you need to put in the work and avoid the decay from happening in the first place. Your road to healthy teeth begins tomorrow morning at breakfast. So trade that Cinnamon Toast Crunch for a fresh fruit medley, farm fresh eggs and a side of fluoride.