Dental Fillings To Repair Damaged Teeth

Dental fillings are one of the oldest and most common dental procedures used to treat tooth decay.

A dental filling is a procedure for repairing a hole in a damaged or decayed tooth. Tooth decay is a result of bacteria consuming the food you eat and producing acid as a by-product. The acid from these bacteria can form cavities overtime as a result of an unhealthy diet, medications, and not brushing or flossing properly. Even individuals who practice good daily oral hygiene habits and avoid sugary foods and beverages are still at risk for cavities. This is why it is important to get routine dental cleanings to help minimize the risk of tooth decay.

Types Of Dental Fillings

There are several types of dental fillings available today. If you have a strong preference or have a need for one type of filling over another, you should talk with your dentist. Your dentist will make sure to discuss with you the pros and cons of each type of filling and help you make a choice that is right for you.

Metal Fillings: Metal fillings are made from a mixture of several different types of materials. One of these materials, amalgam, is metal alloy containing mercury, silver, tin, and copper. Metal fillings are common because they are a durable and inexpensive filling option.

Composite Fillings: Resin-based composites are a type of filling that is applied and then bonded to the tooth. Composite fillings have become increasingly popular due to their natural tooth-like appearance. The composite used is tooth-colored and once bonded to the tooth becomes less visible than other filling types. Composite fillings are more expensive than traditional fillings, but their improved aesthetic and durability make them a popular choice.

Filling Aftercare

After you have a filling and the numbness from the procedure wears off, you will be able to return to your normal daily activities. In order to avoid future need for fillings you should consider adhering to the regular daily practice of brushing twice a day and flossing daily. These daily habits will help prevent a new cavity from forming and prolonging the life of your new filling. It is normal to experience some sensitivity in the new filling for a few days after the procedure. If the filling is causing pain and sensitivity after the procedure that does not go away, make sure you contact your dentist. Overtime, fillings may fall out or crack due to another cavity forming, excessive force/biting on the tooth, or trauma. If this happens, it is important that you schedule an appointment and have your filling repaired or replaced to preserve the tooth and protect it from future damage.

The Dental Filling Process

The dental filling procedure can be completed in one visit. The procedure involves several simple steps:

  1. To help make the procedure pain-free and more comfortable your dentist will give you a local anesthetic. The anesthetic will numb the area where the filling will be placed.
  2. Once the anesthetic sets in the tooth needs to be prepared. This preparation step includes cleaning the tooth and removing any decay. If you are getting a filling because you have a cavity, this cavity will need to be removed using a small dental drill.
  3. After the cavity has been removed it is time to fill the hole in the tooth. Prior to this step your dentist will have selected a filling material based on your preferences and needs. If you are getting a composite filling, the coloring of the composite will be selected based on the shade of your natural teeth.
  4. Your dentist will work to place the filling and allow it to set. If a composite filling is being used, light exposure will be applied to harden the composite. The last step of this process is to check and make sure the filling is not altering your bite. The filling will be adjusted to your bite until it feels comfortable and then polished.