Fillings are small dental restorations used to rehabilitate teeth with small fractures, cavities, wear or other damage. Placing a filling over a decayed or damaged tooth can restore the tooth to optimal form and appearance, make chewing easier and in some cases reducing sensitivity associated with enamel loss due to tooth decay.
Older fillings were made from metal materials like gold, silver or amalgam, which did not match the color of tooth enamel, required more drilling of the tooth and presented some health concerns.
Nowadays, dentists use tooth-colored materials, which are made from plastic and glass-like particles. Tooth-colored fillings offer a variety of advantages over metal fillings — for example, they blend in well with the surrounding natural tooth enamel, require less drilling and have no health-related risks. For most patients, tooth-colored fillings are a great choice for repairing damaged or decayed teeth without compromising aesthetics.
When Is A Dental Filling Recommended?
Fillings are commonly recommended when a tooth develops a cavity; they protect the tooth from developing bigger problems in the future. Fillings can also be used to repair teeth with small fractures or other types of minor damage, and to rehabilitate teeth that have been worn down due to bruxism (teeth grinding) or other causes.
More extensive decay or damage may require a crown, which is a tooth-shaped restoration placed over the entire exterior of the tooth.
Getting A Dental Filling
After determining that a tooth needs to be filled, our dentists recommend the materials best suited to the patient and situation. Factors such as the current condition of the tooth, the location of the tooth in the mouth and the size of the area to be restored are considered before making a recommendation.
The process of getting a dental filling can usually be completed in a single appointment. Prior to starting treatment, the tooth is numbed to prevent any discomfort.
The first step of the procedure is to prepare the affected tooth to receive the filling. Our dentist removes the tooth decay or damage with a laser or a dental handpiece and cleans the entire area in preparation of the filling. Once the tooth is ready, a primer and a bonding agent are placed on the tooth. Then, the composite filling material is applied, shaped and sculpted as needed to restore the tooth to optimal form and appearance. Next, a special curing light hardens the tooth-colored filling. Finally, our dentist checks the filling against the bite to ensure the teeth fit together properly. If the dentist is happy with the result, they smooth and polish the new filling.
Tooth fillings should be brushed and flossed normally, and checked and professionally cleaned regularly. With the proper care and attention, they can last for years.
Contact Dr. Dave’s Healthy Smiles Today
For more information about tooth-colored fillings and other types of fillings, please call or email Dr. Dave’s Healthy Smiles today. Our team is happy to answer your questions over the phone or email or schedule an appointment for you to meet our dentists. You can reach us by calling our Dickson office at 615-813-4303.