Treatments for Cavities

Girl smilingWhat is the first thing you notice when you meet somebody new? Is it the eyes? Is it the hair? In many cases, it’s the person’s smile. A study by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) found that the eyes were the first attribute new acquaintances notice, with the smile as second. At Smile Solutions, we understand the importance of good oral health, and we know that even the most dedicated of our patients, who brush and floss twice a day and attend regular checkups and cleanings, will likely have to deal with at least one cavity in their lifetimes. To eliminate pain and restore your smile, we offer restorative dentistry treatments to improve the health of your teeth. To undergo treatment for cavities, contact our Wilmington, DE practice today.

Cause of Cavities

Cavities are caused by dental caries. Bacteria that occur naturally in the mouth combine with saliva to form a sticky substance called dental plaque. Plaque can form anywhere in the mouth, but is most commonly found in the pits and grooves of the back teeth, between teeth, and near the gum line. The bacteria in plaque consume sugar and carbohydrates and emit acids as a byproduct. These acids temporarily soften tooth enamel so that bacteria can attack a tooth. As the bacteria eat away at enamel and dentin in a tooth, a cavity forms. If the decay is not removed from the tooth, it can spread to the soft, center layer called the pulp and actually kill the tooth or cause abscesses.

Treating Cavities

In the past, treating a cavity meant having a metal amalgam filling placed. Metal fillings leave dark spots in otherwise bright smiles. They also contain small amounts of mercury, a hazardous heavy metal. Amalgam fillings require more significant removal of healthy tooth structure because of their size. They also tend to expand and contract when exposed to extreme temperature changes, which causes fractures. Metal amalgam fillings have been used for over a hundred years, but now a more attractive dental filling material is available.

Composite Fillings

Smile Solutions exclusively offers composite resin dental fillings, because of their many advantages over amalgams. The resin used for composite fillings is custom tinted to match the natural color of a patient’s affected tooth, so the results are virtually unnoticeable. Composites contain no mercury or metal of any kind, making them safe for all patients. They also allow for more of the tooth’s natural, healthy structure to remain intact, and the resin bonds to the tooth for added strength.


A deep cavity, or a failed filling, may require a more structurally durable restoration than a filling can provide. Dental crowns are solid restorations that cover a tooth on all sides, to the gum line. Sometimes referred to as caps, dental crowns are made of metal, porcelain fused to metal (PFM), porcelain/ceramic, or zirconia. To keep your smile white, tooth-colored porcelain or zirconia is preferred.

Contact Us for an Appointment

If you think you may have a cavity, or want to learn more about fillings and crowns, contact Smile Solutions today.