A healthy smile is a beautiful smile. Yet, when decay takes hold, even the most brilliant smile can suffer. Our dentists in Lake City, FL, with Lake City Dental, offer dental fillings that restore the appearance, functionality, and health of teeth that have sustained damage as a result of decay. Our composite dental fillings provide the look and feel of your natural teeth while improving each tooth’s durability, health, and longevity. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for teeth fillings and cavity repair and to learn more about our dental services.
What Are Dental Fillings?
Dental fillings may be a single or a combination of metals, glass, plastics, or other materials used to repair and restore teeth. Most commonly, a dental filling, also known as a tooth filling, is used to repair teeth with cavities, or carries, as a result of tooth decay and oral acidity.
A filling may also be used to repair cracked or broken teeth and teeth that have become worn down due to misuses, such as from teeth grinding (bruxism) or nail biting. Dental fillings can be made from several different materials, such as gold, porcelain, silver amalgam, composite resin, and other materials. For more information about permanent tooth fillings, contact Lake City Dental.
Common Types Of Dental Fillings
Tooth decay is damage to a tooth that may occur when harmful bacteria in the mouth produce acids that attack tooth enamel, resulting in a cavity. When the decay is left untreated, and if severe enough, it can cause a large hole to form or it may even destroy the entire tooth, resulting in pain, infection, and even tooth loss. At its early stages, tooth decay can be stopped or reversed with a dental filling.
There are a number of different options available for tooth fillings. The most common types of dental fillings include composite resin, silver amalgam, and ceramic (porcelain). The best type of dental filling material for your needs will depend on the extent of the damage, your aesthetic preferences, and your dentist’s recommendations. Contact our dental office today to schedule your filling appointment.
Composite resin fillings, or tooth-colored fillings, are made from a glass or quartz filler and can be color-matched to the color of the surrounding teeth for a more natural appearance. A composite filling is durable and is ideal for small-to-midsize tooth fillings for areas of the mouth that experience mild chewing or use functions.
Silver amalgam or amalgam fillings are made from a combination of several types of metallic elements, which provide them with a noticeable silver-colored appearance. Dental amalgam fillings are highly durable and, thus, they are ideal for restoring molars and other teeth located at the back of the mouth that perform high chewing functions.
Ceramic fillings, also known as porcelain fillings, inlays, or onlays, are produced in a laboratory, then they are bonded to the teeth. Porcelain fillings can be color-matched to the surrounding teeth for a natural appearance. These fillings also resist staining over time. However, ceramic fillings are among the most costly filling material options.
Glass Ionomer Fillings
Glass ionomer dental fillings are made from a ground-glass filler. Like composite fillings, glass ionomer fillings are made to match the color of a patient’s natural tooth. These fillings release fluoride over time for cavity prevention. However, glass ionomer fillings are typically less durable and long-lasting than other types of fillings, such as amalgam fillings.
Fillings made from gold are made-to-order in a laboratory, and they are then cemented onto the teeth. Gold fillings are well-tolerated by gum tissue, and they may last for up to 20 years or more after they are initially placed. However, gold fillings are among the most expensive type of dental fillings, and receiving them requires multiple visits to the dentist.
Do I Need A Dental Filling?
During your appointment with us, your dentist will use a small mirror to examine the surfaces of each tooth, inspecting each area of every tooth for any abnormalities, such as discoloration, sensitivity to temperature changes, cracks, holes, and other defects. Any suspected issues will then be closely examined, and dental X-rays will be taken. The specific treatment chosen will depend on the extent of the damage and the dental filling selected by you and your dentist.
There are several reasons why tooth fillings may be required, including the following signs that indicate the need for tooth restoration. If a patient has recently suffered trauma to a tooth, experience tooth sensitivity while eating or drinking, notice early signs of decay, or experience any other oral issues, we strongly recommend that they contact our office to schedule an appointment with our dental team.
- Tooth decay
- Temperature-related tooth sensitivity
- Teeth with wear due to oral trauma
- Damaged teeth due to an accident or injury
- Chipped, fractured, or cracked teeth
- Teeth with spaces in between them
Dental Fillings Procedure
Each patient has unique needs to restore and optimize their oral health. As such, the exact steps of a patient’s dental filling procedure may be different from another’s. In general, however, a cavity-filling procedure begins with the use of a local anesthetic, which numbs the gum tissue surrounding the affected tooth. The dentist will then use an air abrasion instrument, laser, or a dental drill to remove the decay from the tooth. The choice of instrument may depend on the extent of the tooth decay and location of the tooth in question. The dentist will then test the affected area during the decay removal process in order to determine whether or not any decay remains within the tooth.
Once the decay is fully removed from the tooth, the dentist will then prepare the area by cleaning out any bacteria and debris from the hole in the tooth. If the decay is located near the tooth’s root, the dentist may first line the depression with a special material in order to protect the tooth’s nerve. Then, the dentist will insert the filling and polish the tooth. For composite resin fillings or tooth-colored fillings, the dentist will drill the tooth, remove any decay, and apply the tooth-colored filling material in layers. Then, they will apply a curative dental light to the tooth to harden each layer. The dentist will then shape the material to the desired finish, trim away excess material, and finally polish the treated tooth to a smooth, bright finish.
How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?
In the majority of cases, a cavity filling will endure for several years before it requires replacement. Yet, dental fillings can wear down and sustain damage sooner than expected due to chewing, teeth grinding, and general use over the years. Teeth grinding, or bruxism is a common cause of early tooth-filling replacement. If you identify signs of wear on your tooth filling, such as chipping or cracking on the tooth or filling, contact our dentist’s office to have the filling replaced as soon as possible.
If a damaged dental filling is left unrepaired, continued use of the filling may result in tooth cracking, which can require more extensive and costly repairs. Additionally, in some cases, additional tooth decay can develop around and within the tooth, whether or not the filling is structurally compromised. If this occurs, your dentist may recommend tooth restoration using a dental crown instead of a secondary tooth filling. The best way to determine whether or not your dental filling requires replacement is during a dental checkup with your Lake City dentist!
How Should I Care For My Teeth With Fillings?
The best way to help ensure your dental fillings last and that your oral health remains high, you should follow good oral hygiene practices each day and visit your dentist for twice-yearly checkups and dental cleanings. To maintain your fillings, brush your teeth with toothpaste containing fluoride; your dentist can recommend the best toothpaste for your oral health needs.
Additionally, you should floss at least once a day using your dentist’s recommended technique and visit your dentist regularly. If, after you receive a dental filling, your tooth feels extremely sensitive, you feel a sharp edge on the treated tooth, or you notice a crack in a filling or if a piece of the filling is missing from the tooth, call our office right away to schedule an appointment.