What are Dental Fillings?
Fillings are a minor restorative procedure, designed to strengthen teeth damaged by tooth decay. They are also used to restore lost functionality to teeth and the oral cavity. For many patients, fillings are used to take care of a cavity. By filling the cavity, it stops the decay from doing any further damage to the tooth. While some cavities can be the end result of trauma, the vast majority are, in fact, caused by tooth decay. When patients do not floss and brush their teeth, at least twice a day, decay is allowed to set in and slowly eat away healthy tooth enamel, eventually resulting in a cavity. Patients who eat and drink beverages and foods with a high acid content are far more likely than those who do not to suffer from a greater number of cavities.
While cavities are not good news, patients should know filling a cavity typically takes less than 15 minutes and can be completed during a single dental appointment. Any patient with a tooth that aches and who feels they need an assessment, to determine if they need a filling or not, is welcome to come to our Artistic Dental office.
When Are Fillings Necessary?
Cavities should be filled as soon as possible. Once patients have been told they have a cavity, it is important they schedule an appointment to have it filled as soon as possible. When cavities are left untreated, they will worsen, the decay continuing to eat away at the tooth. When this happens, the tooth can become compromised and ultimately may need to be pulled.
Placing a Filling
Simple and straightforward, the procedure to place a filling is commonplace in today’s dental practices. Using a local anesthetic to numb the patient, the solution is liberally applied to the surrounding gum tissue, as well as the tooth. This is so the patient can remain comfortable and pain-free during the procedure. When the patient has grown appropriately numb, all decayed material is removed from the site. The cavity is then cleaned, so it is ready to be filled. It is important to clean the decayed material from the tooth before filling it. If there is any decay left, it can continue to eat away at the tooth enamel beneath the filling. A pliable resin is used to fill the cavity by being forced into the cleaned-out cavity. This stops the decay and improves the functionality of the tooth.
Materials may vary around the world, but the vast majority of fillings are made from either resin or amalgam. The least expensive of the two is amalgam which is made from several different metals. It is the most widely used because of the lower cost associated with it. However, amalgam is harder to work with than resin. Resin fillings are easy to place because the material is malleable and therefore easier to place in the cavity than amalgam. Another benefit of using resin is it can be tinted and shaped to match the other teeth in the patient’s oral cavity.
Patients who need more information about our filling techniques are invited to come to our Artistic Dental office. They can also call us at (848) 222-3984.