Decay: tooth decay (caries or cavities) is the most common disease that affects man. Teeth can begin to decay soon after they appear in the mouth. Caries is the destruction of tooth material by acid. This acid is produced by bacteria which are normally found in your mouth. These bacteria feed on food debris (usually sugar) and produce an acid which dissolves tooth material. In order for caries to occur, three factors must be present
The most common sites on teeth for caries to begin are at the gum line, biting surface, and between adjacent teeth. In order to prevent tooth decay, you must eliminate or reduce bacteria and food debris in these areas.
Caries is not only the most common disease affecting man, it is probably the most easily prevented. Food debris and bacteria clump together and form a material called plaque. This sticky material is continuously forming at the neck of each tooth. in order to prevent tooth decay you must thoroughly clean the gum-line area daily. A soft toothbrush and dental floss should be used to remove this damaging plaque.
Another way to prevent caries is through your diet. The incidence of caries has increased with the quantity of refined sugars produced. Adequate nutrition does not include between-meal sweets.
The most common disease of the human race can be almost entirely prevented. You and only you can save your own teeth. You also bear the responsibility of teaching your children to brush and floss correctly as well as to avoid sugary between-meal foods.
Amalgam (silver filling):
A dental filling is any material that restores the normal shape and function of a tooth which has a portion missing due to decay or fracture. the least expensive kind of filling is the Amalgam but it is not the most cosmetic often giving the tooth a gray or black look to it and can stain the tooth structure. Usually this is used on the back teeth.
Amalgam is made from metals which are mixed to a putty like consistency and forced into a specially shaped hole drilled into a tooth. Amalgam is made up of silver, mercury, tin, copper, and zinc. A properly placed and well taken care of filling will last for years provided decay does not return.
Amalgam is best used in small cavities. When more than one-half of the tooth has to be drilled away in order to place an amalgam filling, a crown (cap) should be considered instead of the amalgam. Amalgam has to be pushed into a specially drilled hole in a tooth if there is not enough tooth available in which to drill this hole, a Crown should be used to repair the tooth INSTEAD.
Composite (tooth color filling):
Most teeth are now filled with a tooth-colored material. The most common material used is a composite, made of plastic, quartz, and other fillers. When a cavity is very large or if an edge is broken off a front tooth, your dentist may recommend a cap or a Crown instead of a filling. a cap or crown is much stronger in such cases