Dental fillings replace the part of a tooth damaged by decay. For one hundred years, dentists have used amalgam as a filling material. Amalgam is a combination of metals, but it includes mercury, a heavy metal that’s toxic to humans. The Food and Drug Administration and American Dental Association approved of amalgam use for many years. They recently changed their stance, stating that amalgam fillings should not be used in pregnant women or people with a mercury allergy. Because of the longstanding controversy over dental amalgam’s safety, Dr. Young prefers composite resin fillings.
Composites offer many advantages over amalgam. In addition to containing zero metal and mercury, composite fillings are tooth-colored, so they look natural. They chemically bond with tooth structure to create a secure restoration that won’t change shape with temperature fluctuations.
To replace large, failing fillings or significant tooth damage, Dr. Young may suggest a crown or a partial crown, also called an inlay or onlay. If your tooth decay extends into the root of your tooth, you may require a root canal. Modern root canal treatment is faster, more effective, and less uncomfortable than in years past.
Why Cavities Occur
The science of dentistry is amazing. Most people aren’t aware how cavities develop. Tooth decay originates from consuming starches (including sugars). When oral bacteria are exposed to starches, they construct an acid. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, and it’s the second hardest natural substance on our planet, next to diamonds. However, when this acid comes in contact with teeth, it pulls minerals from their enamel. Without minerals, enamel softens and becomes subject to erosion and bacterial infiltration. The bacteria eat away at the soft enamel and leave tooth decay behind.
Children are encouraged by parents, teachers, and healthcare professionals to brush their teeth every day and not to eat too much candy. These two tasks are the golden rule for deterring cavities. The truth is, you should brush twice a day, and you should also floss once a day. In addition, visit Dr. Young for preventive dental checkups and cleanings. Try to avoid grazing on foods and drinks throughout the day. Instead eat, drink, and rinse with water afterward. You can also use a fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash to help your teeth attract minerals that will keep enamel strong.
An Invitation Just for You
Call Dr. Michael Young, DDS at (337) 23-SMILE to schedule your checkup, consultation, or second-opinion visit. Our Lafayette dentist office serves patients from the Youngsville, Broussard, Scott, Breaux Bridge , and surrounding communities. We are open Monday through Friday, and Dr. Young is always available to see dental emergency cases.