Dental fillings are a restorative dental procedure used to repair teeth damaged by cavities. The process involves removing the decayed material from a tooth, cleaning the area, and then adding a filling material to restore the damaged tooth. Common materials used for fillings are gold, silver amalgam, porcelain, and composite resin.
WHAT IS A DENTAL FILLING?
A dental filling is a restoration that is specifically used to fill in an area of one or more teeth that have become decayed. Dental decay, known as a cavity, can infiltrate a tooth and cause it to become weak. Over time, the decay essentially eats into the tooth to reach the inner pulp. Before the decay is allowed to get to this point, it’s removed and replaced with a tooth-colored composite resin filling.
WHY MIGHT A DENTAL FILLING BE NEEDED?
If you ignore a cavity long enough, the tooth will require a full root canal. This can cause the tooth to become weakened over time. In order to essentially protect the tooth and get rid of the underlying decay, we recommend having a filling placed. Fillings are simple restorations that can be matched to the color of your existing smile.
WHO IS A CANDIDATE FOR DENTAL FILLINGS?
In many cases, you won’t know you have a cavity until you come in for an exam. During the exam, we use a special instrument to look for dark areas or soft spots in a tooth. X-rays further help us in identifying these trouble areas. If you have a cavity, it’s recommended that it be filled sooner rather than later.
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WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE DENTAL FILLING PROCESS?
We first numb the area of the mouth needing the filling. The decay is removed from the tooth completely. The next step is to prep the tooth for the new composite filling. We do this by applying an etching gel into the small hole, washing it away and then packing the hole with resin. The resin is cured and hardened with a special dental light. We can place multiple fillings in the same area, and we recommend coming in for treatment as soon as it’s found that you have a cavity.
If you think you might need a dental filling and want to know more about the procedure, call our office today and one of our friendly team members will be happy to help.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are several types of dental fillings available. Common types include composite (resin), amalgam (metal alloy), ceramic, gold and glass ionomer.
On average dental fillings last between 7 and 10 years, but some may last up to 15 years or more.
The cost of a dental filling can vary depending on factors such as the type of filling material, the size of the filling, and the complexity of the procedure. Generally, a filling can range anywhere from $50 to $350.
Yes, dental fillings are generally safe and an effective way to repair a decaying or damaged tooth. However, if you are concerned about any of the materials used for dental fillings, you should talk to your dentist before scheduling the procedure.