Treating Tooth Decay with Fillings from Your Bethesda Dentist

Despite good preventive dental care, some patients will still develop cavities. Also known as tooth decay or dental caries, a cavity is a hole in a tooth caused by acids that destroy the enamel. Without protective enamel, your tooth is left vulnerable to the bacteria that cause decay. Acids are formed when oral bacteria mix with sugars and starches in foods and attack the hard outer layer of the tooth. Your saliva, as well as certain minerals (such as calcium in dairy products and the fluoride in your toothpaste), can help neutralize these acids. However, if you eat too many starchy foods or fail to clean your teeth regularly, the acids will win the constant battle occurring in your mouth. If you keep up with regular dental checkups with your Besthesda general dentist, any decay that forms can be caught at such an early stage that it can be treated with a simple filling rather than a crown or root canal therapy.

Dental Filling Materials

Dr. Hornstein uses both amalgam and composite resin fillings to treat cavities. Amalgam fillings, also called silver fillings, are composed of metal alloys. While many patients do not want silver fillings because of their dark, conspicuous appearance, Dr. Hornstein does offer them to those who are concerned about costs, as they are less expensive than other filling materials. He also uses them in cases where they are the best material for the job. Most patients, however, prefer composite resin fillings, which are shaded to match the surrounding tooth for better aesthetics. Composite resin requires less tooth reduction for placement and also bonds better with the porous tooth surface, resulting in a stronger tooth.

Placing Tooth-Colored Fillings

Your Bethesda dentist starts the filling process by removing all areas of decay, and then he removes any bacteria or debris present to sterilize the prepared space. Next, he places the composite resin material, in its liquid form, into the space and hardens it with a special light or laser. Once the resin has been cured, he will shape it and make adjustments so that your new restoration fits with opposing teeth when you bite down, and then he will polish it so that it blends inconspicuously with the rest of the tooth.

No Anesthesia Required with Dental Laser Technology

There was once a time when most filling procedures began with an injection of a local anesthetic, but with dental lasers, that step isn’t always necessary anymore. Dr. Hornstein uses the revolutionary LightWalker laser to place fillings, which produces a numbing effect as it removes tooth structure, rendering anesthesia unnecessary in some cases. The laser also sterilizes the tooth before the filling is placed to prevent secondary decay and tooth infection. Another advantage of LightWalker is that it does not produce the same vibration or loud noises of a traditional dental drill, which goes a long way in easing patients with dental anxieties. Filling placement with a dental laser is comfortable, quiet, and efficient, and you will walk out of our Bethesda dentist office without any residual numbness as you would after undergoing local anesthesia.

Experience the Difference

Dentistry of Bethesda provides compassionate, personalized dental care for all members of your family, including those with special needs. Contact Bethesda dentist Dr. Spencer Hornstein today at (301) 530-2700 to schedule your consultation. We happily treat patients from Silver Spring, North Bethesda, Rockville, Chevy Chase, Potomac, and the surrounding areas.