Dental caries, also known as tooth decay or cavities, are caused by certain bacteria (primarily S. mutans, lactobacilli) in your mouth. These bacteria use sugar for energy and create acid as a byproduct of their metabolism. Over time this acid sits on your teeth and begins to create small holes in the enamel, the outer layer of the tooth. This caries process can be monitored, slowed, and even stopped in the early stages. As a cavity grows and makes its way into the inner layer of the tooth, a filling must be done to stop the process. If a filling isn’t done in a timely manner, a cavity can move all the way to the nerve in the middle of a tooth and cause a toothache.
Composite is the most common filling material used, and consists of many materials mixed together to form a filling.
Composite fillings are placed in you tooth in a soft form, and require a blue light to activate it and harden it. This allows us to form the filling to the new tooth preparation, and make it fit your tooth perfectly. Then when we use the light, the material hardens and is suitable for chewing.
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