September 2, 2015

Dental Fillings Are Different Than They Used to Be

Most of our patients are familiar with the concept of dental fillings. They are most commonly used after a cavity has been treated, and few, if any, people are able to go through life without getting at least one cavity. In the past, most people would get an amalgam or silver filling. While these are still available, there is a clear challenge with them: they stand out. When you have a silver filling, everyone will see it when you smile. Nowadays, there is a modern solution that blends in with your teeth. Our tooth-colored fillings accomplish the same thing as the traditional ones, but they do so in a way that is so discreet, you will never be able to tell which of your teeth ever had a cavity in the first place.

Why fillings are necessary:

We typically place dental fillings because we need to restore the structure of a tooth. The reason this is necessary when treating a cavity is that a cavity is actually tooth decay. When a portion of the tooth decays or dies, it must be removed, because that area becomes soft and sticky and can cause the spread of infection. Once we have removed the decay, we need to clean the tooth so any signs of infection are gone. The challenge is that when you remove the decayed portion of a tooth, it will no longer be intact or have the same structure as it used to. This requires us to restore the tooth so you can eat like normal and go about life without a toothache.

In this scenario, dental fillings are an excellent solution. Once the area has been cleaned and prepared, we can place the dental filling. With a tooth-colored filling, the material is placed in layers and hardened with a dental light. This allows us to mold it and to make small changes to the top or ridges of the restoration, a necessary step to ensure your bite is not negatively impacted by the procedure. We take our time to make sure every filling is shaped correctly and only positively impacts your smile. The good news is that once the filling hardens, it will be durable enough to allow you to eat like normal and without restriction. While you may find that it takes a day or two to adjust, once you have, you will not even remember which of your teeth had to be filled.

We also use dental fillings in situations where there is minor damage to the tooth. For example, if a tooth is slightly chipped, a dental crown would be a far more significant restoration than is necessary. A filling can be placed immediately, and it can resolve the problem by restoring the structure of the tooth. A bonus of using this option is that all of your remaining enamel can stay in place without needing to be removed to make space for the restoration (as is necessary when placing a dental crown). To learn more about this solution, call and schedule an appointment.

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