Cavities, or caries, are areas of tooth decay that can spread and destroy the entire tooth if left untreated. Dental fillings are the most common way to deal with minor cavities. If Dr. Evanson explains that you need a filling, use this guide to prepare for the procedure.
What to Expect When Getting a Dental Filling
To ensure a painless procedure, Dr. Evanson first uses a local anesthetic to numb your tooth and surrounding gums. Then, she removes the decayed portion of the tooth with a special laser, being careful not to leave any damage behind. Next, cleaning bacteria from the tooth cavity prepares it for the filling. If the decay was located near the root, a liner of glass ionomer, composite resin, or another material might be necessary to protect the nerve.
The process of adding the filling itself varies depending on what material you choose. For popular tooth-colored composite resin fillings, the material is added in layers and “cured” with a special light. Dr. Evanson then shapes the composite material, trims off any excess, and polishes the filling for a smooth, comfortable finished product.
Types of Dental Fillings
The location and extent of your cavity, the cost of different filling materials, your insurance coverage, and Dr. Evanson’s recommendations all affect which type of filling is best for you. Here are the top options.
Made of silver and other metals, amalgam fillings are the strongest, most trusted, and least expensive type of filling available. The presence of mercury scares some patients, but Colgate.com declares that no studies have ever shown amalgam fillings to cause adverse health effects. The biggest drawback is that amalgam is metallic colored, making it undesirable for filling cavities near the front of your mouth.
Composite Resin Fillings
The option to fill portions of damaged teeth with a tooth-colored composite is extremely popular. Chemical bonding provides excellent structural support for composite resin fillings. Unfortunately, this material doesn’t last as long as amalgam, and composite resin is much more expensive.
Ceramic fillings tend to last longer than composite resin and are also more resistant to staining and abrasion. However, ceramic is also more brittle, so to prevent the material from cracking, more healthy tooth material must be shaved away, so the filling itself is larger and stronger. In addition, ceramic is among the most expensive filling materials available today.
Glass Ionomer Fillings
This material is made of acrylic and a special type of glass. It’s often used as a liner to protect tooth nerves when caries are situated below the gum line. These unique fillings release fluoride, which can help prevent future decay. They last just as long as composites and also cost about the same amount.
Many situations call for temporary fillings, which protect the cleaned out tooth cavity until the permanent material goes in. You might need a temporary filling if:
- The tooth’s nerve is irritated during the cleaning process or following a root canal and needs time to “settle down.”
- You have an emergency dental situation, such as a severe toothache.
- You choose a material (such as gold or composite resin) or procedure (such as an indirect filling) that requires multiple appointments to complete.
As the name suggests, temporary fillings aren’t meant to last. They often wear out, fall out, or break within a month. Make sure to schedule the appointment for your permanent filling within this timeframe.
Caring for Teeth with Dental Fillings
The recommendations for maintaining teeth with fillings are the same as caring for intact teeth:
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
- Floss daily.
- Rinse with antibacterial mouthwash.
- Visit the dentist every six months.
If you ever notice extreme sensitivity to hot and cold, a sharp edge along the filling, or a cracked filling, set an appointment with Dr. Evanson right away to have the problem addressed.
Call Us for a Dental Filling Consultation
If you think you have a cavity, don’t ignore it or the problem will only spread. Filling small caries is always easier and less expensive than waiting until more of your tooth has started to decay. Schedule a checkup at our Parker office to assess the health of your teeth and get a filling if necessary. Simply call us at (720) 409-0008 or set an appointment online when you’re ready!Leave a reply →