When tooth structure is eaten away or otherwise damaged by dental decay, cracks, or fractures, it's often repaired with the placement of a dental filling. While traditional fillings were typically composed of amalgam, a mixture of different metals, today's restorations are mercury-free, biologically safe, and tooth-colored.
With the placement of a composite "tooth-colored or white filling," the form and function of the involved tooth can be rebuilt with a restoration that is durable, long-lasting, and seamlessly matches the shade of the remaining tooth structure. Composite fillings are made of the latest generations of dental materials and contain a mix of liquid resin embedded with finely ground glass particles.
After the decayed or damaged areas of a tooth have been carefully removed, a composite filling can be placed, shaped, and then bonded to the remaining prepared and conditioned natural tooth structure. Initially placed as a putty-like material, the composite material is then shaped to restore the contours of a healthy natural tooth. When this step is completed, the filling is "cured" with a light wand or allowed to set. In addition to restoring teeth affected by damage or decay, strong and durable composite resins can also be used to cosmetically change the size, color, or shape of teeth with imperfections or minor alignment issues such as spacing.
If the pleasure of eating a delicious bowl of ice cream or sipping a soothing cup of tea gets overshadowed by dental pain that makes you wince; it's time to contact our office. As skilled providers of care, we'll determine what's causing your discomfort and perform the treatment required to alleviate your symptoms and get you back on the road to oral health.
Cavities develop because of an infectious process that causes progressive damage to tooth structure. Despite starting as a pinpoint defect on the outermost enamel layer of your tooth, untreated dental decay progressively compromises more and more healthy tooth structure as it works its way to the inner layers of your tooth.
Yes, you can still develop tooth decay on other surfaces of the tooth, around the margins of an old filling, or in fewer instances, recurrent decay underneath it. For this reason, it's essential to maintain excellent oral hygiene, a diet low in sugary beverages and sweets, and be sure to visit our office for routine checkups and care. While tooth decay is second only to the common cold in frequency, it's almost entirely preventable.
We value the time and comfort of our patients. If cavities are located on adjacent teeth, or in the same section of your smile, it may be possible to treat more than one tooth during your visit. However, how much is done each visit depends on several factors. We keep our patients well informed and tailor every treatment plan and visit to address their unique needs.
Addressing concerns on the presence of elemental mercury in silver fillings, the American Dental Association (ADA), The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the FDA, and the World Health Organization have all stated that amalgam restorations do not pose a risk to health. However, individuals with allergies or sensitivities to the metals in dental amalgam are advised to pursue other restorative options.
Dental fillings are performed under local anesthesia to help ensure your comfort throughout the entire procedure. The involved tooth remains completely numb for the extent of your visit. Within one or two hours after the procedure is completed, the local anesthetic will gradually wear off, and normal sensations return.
A tooth-colored composite filling is fully hardened and set by the end of your visit. However, we may advise you to wait a couple of hours until the local anesthesia has completely worn off. This advice is to help ensure you don't accidentally bite your lip, cheek, or tongue while still numb.
The lifetime of a dental filling varies depending on the type of material used. While popular dental materials can last a decade or more with proper care, they can degrade over time, wear down, or even break. When this happens, you may experience some tooth sensitivity, a jagged edge, or a loose or dislodged piece of filling material. Whatever the case may be, it's essential to get the filling replaced before the tooth sustains further damage or other consequences arise. Beyond taking good care of your smile we can help ensure the longevity of your fillings, our office regularly checks the status of your existing fillings as part of a routine checkup exam.
Dental fillings are an essential investment that serves to preserve and protect the health of your smile. With that said, how much a filling costs depends on the number of surfaces of the tooth involved and the filling material that is used. Amalgam restorations are the most economical. While tooth-colored composite fillings have a slightly higher cost, they offer the added benefits of being metal-free and much more aesthetically pleasing. Ceramic fillings, inlays, and onlays are more expensive than the preceding options but provide outstanding, long-lasting, and natural-looking results.
Dental insurances typically cover the cost of dental fillings. While we work with you to maximize your insurance benefits, there may still be an out-of-pocket expense. At the office of Associates in Dentistry, we strive to help you begin care without any additional financial stress or delay.