Dental fillings are materials that are applied to a tooth repair cracks or breaks, or fill in space left by decay (cavities). Composite, tooth-colored fillings are virtually invisible. They bond directly to the tooth and help prevent further decay. Treatment for fillings and restorations does not have to be stressful, and we take several steps to safely and effectively deal with a damaged tooth that is practically pain free.
In order for a dentist to create a filling, the first step is to numb the gums, tongue, teeth and skin surrounding the area to provide optimal comfort for the patient. A substance is swabbed onto the area to begin the process, and then the patient is given an anesthetic to completely numb the area. Once the area is numb, the dentist can begin to eliminate the decay.
The most common way to remove a decaying area of the tooth is to utilize a small dental hand piece. When the tooth has been adequately cleaned and prepared, a filling can be inserted into the space to strengthen the tooth and help promote cavity resistance.
Finally, the filling will be properly shaped, smoothed and polished. Your bite will be adjusted until closing feels natural. Your dentist will be sure that you can floss between your teeth. See our Home Instructions for more information.
Why are my teeth sensitive to hot and cold?
Sometimes a patient experiences tooth sensitivity, and feel uncomfortable when drinking items that are hot or cold. Often sensitivity diminishes over time. If it continues, there are special types of toothpaste that can be used to help with sensitive teeth.
What causes cavities?
Plaque is a material that builds on your teeth, and bacteria live in plaque. Over time, plaque that is missed by brushing and flossing can harden into tartar, which can only be removed by professional instruments. Tartar gives the bacteria a more permanent home, and the acids produces by the bacteria eat away at the tooth. As the enamel is eroded away, small areas of the tooth collapse, and that is called a cavity.
What happens if I ignore or wait to address a cavity?
It is possible to have a cavity even when there are no symptoms or pain. However, if a cavity goes untreated, it could potentially worsen and cause the need for more extensive dental treatments. If cavities are addressed early, a greater amount of healthy tooth can be retained. The teeth are then stronger because there is more tooth than filling material. With early treatment, it is usually accomplished with more comfort to the patient and less post-operative sensitivity.
How can I prevent cavities?
The best solution for preventing cavities is to brush your teeth the recommended way at least twice daily. Regular dental check-ups will insure that any issues are caught before they become problems. Sealants can also be applied to tooth surfaces to help protect them. A healthy diet is also important in maintaining good oral health.