A filling repairs and restores the surface of a tooth that has been damaged by decay, fracture, or wear. A dental filling strengthens the tooth. If tooth decay is not repaired at its early stages, it will worsen and additional or alternative dental treatments may be necessary.
With proper care and routine oral hygiene, a filling has a lifespan of 5-12 years, depending upon the type of filling material used.
We use bio-compatible materials for our fillings and we don’t offer silver fillings. We use materials that help stimulate the tooth to make natural dentin to aid in keeping it healthy. Your oral and systemic health is our priority.
Composite fillings are made of a combination of resins and plastic materials which are mixed to color match and blend in with your natural tooth. They are stronger compared to a silver filling due to increased adhesion to the original tooth which distributes chewing forces across a larger amount of the tooth structure and is less likely to crack.
Tooth sensitivity is the most common early warning sign of enamel loss due to tooth decay. While there could be a number of reasons for this sensation, only your Dentist can diagnose its underlying cause. If a damaged tooth surface is not treated early, your discomfort will increase.
Should I replace my old silver fillings?
In our practice, we have seen a lot of problems that occur beneath these old silver amalgam fillings. Usually, these problems are not easily seen from the surface of the tooth or with X-Rays and is primarily caused by decay getting below the fillings and cracks in the teeth.
We know from research that silver fillings don’t actually strengthen teeth at all. So a silver filling in a tooth basically acts like a wedge, and when you bite down on the filling the forces are transferred to the surrounding tooth structure. If the filling is close to half of the tooth there is a real chance that the tooth will crack or break.
A filling prescription is made when:
- The surface enamel of a tooth is damaged due to decay, fracture, or wear.
- A tooth’s surface needs to be evened out to improve your ability to bite or chew.
The filling process:
- The tooth is prepared
- The material is layered
- Each layer is set with a special light
- Once the fillings are complete, it is shaped and polished to feel comfortable
After a thorough exam of your teeth, gums and supporting bone structure, your Dentist will discuss treatment options with you and answer your questions. If the agreed-upon treatment is a dental filling, your Dentist will:
- Apply a local anesthetic to the affected area of your mouth
- Use a hand-held instrument to prepare your tooth by removing the decayed or damaged tooth surface
- Cleanse the prepared tooth to remove debris and bacteria
- Isolate the tooth using a small, protective sheet called a “dental dam” to keep it clean and free of saliva during your procedure
- Select the dental filling material based on the placement of the tooth, the location of the damaged area of the tooth, and the extent of its surface damage
- Apply adhesives and filling material to the prepared area and shape it to match the look and feel of a natural tooth
Expose a special hand-held light to the filling material to harden the repaired surface of your tooth