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You’ve heard of cavities, and know you need to prevent them. But what are they, exactly, and how do you fix one when they happen?

Enamel erosion can create a hole in the enamel layer of your tooth; this is called a cavity.  Cavities are extremely harmful to your teeth, but unfortunately, they often go unnoticed until your tooth starts to hurt. By that point, the damage has often been done. Visit your dentist for biannual checkups and regular professional cleanings to ensure cavities are prevented–or at least discovered before they can do extensive damage.

To help fix cavities once they are discovered, you and your dentist may choose to use a dental filling. Typically, a dental filling can fill in the hole and protect the area from further decay.

There are multiple types of dental fillings. The most popular types are dental amalgams and composite fillings.

Dental amalgams have been around for over 100 years and consist of a combination of metals bound together with a little bit of mercury. With a dental amalgam, cavities can safely be cleaned and filled. Amalgams are especially effective for large fillings.  They have been considerably improved over the years in the areas of safety, effectiveness, and preciseness. However, they have a metallic look that does not blend into your natural smile.

As an alternative, composites can be used. Composite fillings, also known as tooth-colored composites, are newer than the amalgam procedure. They use ingredients that can blend in seamlessly with the look of your natural teeth. Composites can be used for extremely small cavities–including ones that were often thought to be too small for dental amalgams. This helps keep your mouth healthy by treating cavities sooner.

Consult with your dentist to see which dental fillings are right for you. Remember to visit your dentist regularly in order to catch cavities before they become major problems. Your smile will thank you!

Dental fillings may be the dentistry service you need. For an oral examination at Steven J. Brazis, DDS at our dentist office in Sacramento, California, please book an appointment with Dr. Steven J. Brazis and our team by calling 916-731-5151. We look forward to helping your smile!