Fillings in Post Office Square, Boston, MA
Fillings allow us to restore teeth that are damaged by decay. After a filling, your teeth will look and function normally. Your Post Office Square dentist will regularly evaluate your teeth for dental decay. Our aim is to help you prevent cavities, but if you get one (or some), we are here to help restore your teeth with high-quality dental fillings.
How Cavities Start
Dental decay is caused by bacteria.
Everyone has a natural microbiome made up of various types of bacteria. Unfortunately, some bacteria can contribute to dental diseases, such as dental decay and gum disease.
Bacteria feed on the foods we eat – and they are particularly partial to carbohydrates. Does this mean you should not eat carbs? No, we need all macronutrients (fats, carbs, and proteins) for a healthy body and healthy teeth. However, it is important to practice daily dental hygiene to remove the plaque from our teeth, which is where the bad bacteria thrive.
You can reduce your risk of dental decay by reducing the amount of simple carbohydrates you eat, too. Simple carbs (candy, cake, soda, etc.) have an excessive amount of sugar, which bacteria love.
As the bacteria consume the sugars, they release an acid that slowly erodes the enamel. Though enamel is one of the hardest materials on earth, constant erosion can break it down. The result is decay (or dead enamel).
Left untreated, dental decay can progress into the weaker structures of the tooth: the dentin (the second layer, which is very porous) and the pulp (the nerve). If decay reaches the nerve, the tooth cannot be restored with a filling. You will need root canal treatment or an extraction.
Thankfully, if we catch decay early, we can prevent this eventuality.
Signs of Dental Decay
Sometimes, patients do not have any symptoms when they experience dental decay. Instead, their Post Office Square dentist finds it during an oral evaluation or in the patient's x-rays.
At times, though, patients may notice these signs of a cavity:
- White spots on the teeth
- Brown or black spots on the teeth
- Sensitivity to cold foods/beverages
- Sensitivity to sweets
- Visible holes in the teeth
- Sensitivity to bite pressure
Why Are Fillings Necessary
Once your dentist has removed the decay from your tooth, you will need a filling. There simply is not enough tooth structure left to support the pressure from biting and chewing.
Additionally, when decay is removed, the second layer of the tooth (the dentin) is often exposed. Leaving it exposed will contribute to extreme sensitivity. Additionally, since the dentin is so porous, it cannot withstand acids like the enamel. The dentin will quickly break down, and the tooth will decay again.
A filling helps us restore the structure of your tooth so you can chew with ease while simultaneously protecting the tooth from further damage. Fillings can also seal any cracks or spaces in the teeth to prevent bacteria from entering.
Ways to Restore a Tooth After a Cavity
There are a variety of filling materials that your Post Office Square dentist can use to fill a tooth, including:
- Gold: Gold fillings (called gold inlays) are custom-made in a laboratory. We take an impression of the tooth after the decay is removed and send it to the lab. After the filling has been fabricated, we cement the filling in place. White gold is considered the best filling material choice, though it is also the most expensive. Gold is well-tolerated by the gum tissue and can last for decades.
- Silver: Amalgam fillings are the least expensive choice and are quite tolerant to wear and tear. However, because they are a darker color, they are more noticeable. They are not ideal for highly visible areas (such as front teeth).
- Plastic: Composite resin is a white filling material that we can match to the shade of your teeth. They are more esthetically pleasing and affordable but do not last as long (three to 10 years) as the other options and are susceptible to wear, chipping, and staining.
- Porcelain: Another type of inlay that is custom fabricated and bonded to the tooth is porcelain. The porcelain is matched to the color of your teeth, can resist staining, and is virtually undetectable. Porcelain inlays cost about the same as gold inlays.
Regular Dental Visits Help Us Find Issues Early
While we would love to prevent all dental decay, that is not always possible. Cavities happen. But we can catch them early – with your help, of course.
When you visit your Post Office Square dentist every six months, you give us the chance to catch decay in the early stages. When we diagnose decay early, we can treat it quickly, which means shallower fillings and more comfortable treatment.
Are you worried you might have a cavity? We can help! Contact us at (857) 578-2200 to schedule an exam.