You're familiar with dental decay--the proverbial cavity. You've had a few in your life and sometimes wish your St. Charles, IL, dentist, Dr. John Isbrandt, wouldn't say the words,"You need a filling." However, did you know that fillings save your teeth from further damage, abscess and even extraction? It's true. Learn more about this restorative procedure and how it can help you maintain a healthy, functional and attractive smile.
What is a cavity?
A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study indicates that most Americans have experienced tooth decay to one degree or other by the time they are 65. This hole in tooth enamel originates in many ways, including:
- Poor brushing and flossing habits which allow plaque and bacteria to thrive
- High carbohydrate diet
- Lack of professional care, including check-ups and cleanings
- Oral trauma, creating cracks which allow infiltration of bacteria
- Heredity (soft enamel seems to run in families)
Ignored, a small cavity grows, often invading the soft interior pulp, causing infection and breaking down the appearance and functionality of a tooth.
How fillings help
Dr. Isbrandt examines all his patients for decay. Sometimes visual inspection uncovers a cavity, and other tools, such as intraoral cameras and digital X-rays, reveal decay in more hidden areas of the mouth, between teeth and under the gums.
If you have a cavity, rest assured your St. Charles, IL, dentist possesses precise restorative skills that will repair the tooth and preserve, or even improve, its appearance. The filling procedure is comfortable because the dentist uses locally injected anesthetic, or other sedation choices, to eliminate any discomfort.
After the tooth is numb, Dr. Isbrandt uses a high-speed drill to remove the decay and to shape the tooth to receive the filling. The most common kinds of fillings is composite resin, a durable, tooth-colored mixture of plastic and glass.
These days, composite resin is preferable because of its longevity, natural appearance and tooth-sparing qualities. In other words, the dentist removes far less healthy tooth structure to place a resin filling than he would if he were using amalgam.
Other filling choices include porcelain, precious metals (gold) and glass ionomer (which contains fluoride). Dr. Isbrandt will tell you which material is best for your tooth depending on its location and the extent of the decay.
How long will a filling last? Longevity depends on hygiene habits, material choice, and even size of the restoration. Be sure to treat all your teeth gently. Prevent fractures and dislodged fillings by avoiding hard foods and biting on pencils and other items that shouldn't go in your mouth. Finally, if you feel pain or sensitivity, see Dr. Isbrandt immediately.
Find out more
A filling can preserve the life of your tooth. Trust the process to your skilled dentist in St. Charles, IL, Dr. John Isbrandt. Call his office at (630) 584-8787 with any questions or concerns, and you'll get the help you need.