Receive Restorative Care With Dental Fillings
Ricardo Chavez, DDS provides restorative services with the goal of treating and correcting dental issues. While our team focuses on preventative care through early detection, we realize everyone develops conditions, minor or severe, at one point or another. When that does happen, we’re here to treat you with restorative dentistry services such as dental fillings.
What Are Fillings?
A filling is a professional method of restoring tooth damage caused by decay. Your dentist will recommend a filling in order to help restore your tooth to its normal function and shape. Upon the treatment, a dentist will first remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned out cavity using a filling material. By closing off the spaces where bacteria may enter, a filling prevents further decay.
How Does Tooth Decay, Commonly Known as a Cavity, Develop?
Tooth decay is damage to a tooth that can happen when bacteria in your mouth creates acids that attack the tooth’s surface or enamel. Decay creates a small hole in your tooth known as a cavity. If the infected tooth isn’t treated properly, it can create pain and even the loss of a tooth. No one age group is immune from developing a cavity. Younger children are generally more at risk if dental hygiene is not practiced routinely. Older adults are also prone to tooth decay since receding gums can cause bacteria in the mouth to come into contact with the tooth’s root. Brushing teeth after meals and using mouthwash can help prevent cavities.
Types of Fillings
There are various types of fillings that provide repair for teeth based on their respective needs. No one type is best for everyone. Our dentist will determine what’s right for you based on the extent of repair that’s necessary. Some people have allergies to certain materials and therefore need ones that don’t cause a reaction.
The different filling materials include:
- Gold fillings: Many consider gold fillings the highest standard of material. Gold inlays are made to be well tolerated by gums and often last for more than 20 years. However, gold is a more expensive option and requires multiple visits.
- Amalgam (silver): Silver fillings are resistant to wear and considered a cost-effective option. Due to their dark color, silver is more noticeable, which for some patients is an issue.
- Composite (plastic): Plastic fillings match the same color as your teeth and therefore create a natural appearance. The downside to plastic is that they can become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco, and they also don’t last as long.
- Porcelain: Porcelain is often called inlays or onlays. These fillings are produced to order in a lab and then bonded to the tooth. A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth. The cost can be as much as that of gold.
What Does the Process Entail?
A typical procedure can last for about an hour. Our dentist will take an X-ray, if needed, and briefly discuss the procedure. Prior to filling a cavity, your teeth, gums, and surrounding mouth area will be numbed to help you avoid discomfort.
During the procedure, our dentist will drill out the decay in the tooth and replace it with a filling. This process alone takes a few minutes. Your mouth will be numb for hours following this step. Shortly after, our dentist will discuss aftercare instructions. You will be able to resume to your normal routine usually within a few hours or so.
Important Aftercare Following a Filling
Following a tooth filling, you may experience some sensitivity and pain. Not to worry — the discomfort shouldn’t last long. It’s important not to neglect your oral hygiene routine following the procedure. Our dentist can offer you recommendations on types of products to use that are designed to protect sensitive teeth. If you experience any unusual reactions such as swelling or inflammation, please contact our office immediately.