What Are Dental Fillings Exactly?
Dental fillings are used to not only restore proper tooth function for chewing and speaking after decay, injury or some other factor, but they also improve the appearance of the mouth, leveling the tooth to match the rest of your teeth.
Why Get Dental Fillings?
This restorative treatment can be used in a variety of cases, but in the case of decay, Smiles R Us Dentistry will remove the affected portion of the tooth and then fill in that area, in order to create an even surface for chewing and to match your tooth with the rest of your mouth. The removal of the decay along with filling in the gap left by that decay ensures minimal food particles will get into the tooth, as long as you maintain a good teeth cleaning regimen. Over time, you may need fillings redone, as chewing, injury and general use can loosen or weaken the bond of the surrounding tooth from the filling.
It’s not only tooth decay from neglect that may increase the need for dental fillings, but also habits such as nail biting and tooth grinding, as both wear down the teeth.
The Dental Filling Process
There are several steps involved when a patient needs a dental filling, the general steps are as follows:
At your first appointment with us, we will numb the areas around your tooth to be filled, and drill out the decayed portion. Once we have checked to ensure the entire decayed portion was removed, we’ll remove particles, debris and bacteria from the area. You will have an impression taken of your teeth, and will be given a temporary onlay while your new tooth is being created in the laboratory. At your second appointment, we will remove the temporary onlay and prepare the damaged tooth for bonding with the permanent onlay, which is bonded to the tooth with a special type of cement. The tooth is then buffed and polished, completing the restoration. Not only is your filled tooth stronger due to the filling, it also looks and feels just like your other teeth.
Types of Dental Fillings
There are a variety of options for dental fillings: gold, porcelain, silver, plastic, glass or tooth-colored fillings. What type of filling you receive depends on the location of your tooth decay, the size of the area that needs to be filled, cost of materials, your insurance plan and your dentist’s recommendation. Here are some types of fillings, along with their advantages and disadvantages.
Gold fillings are strong, lasting 10 years or more, and they won’t corrode. Some people prefer gold fillings to silver, but that all depends on personal preference.
Silver fillings are cheaper than other options and usually last for at least 10 years. They are also strong and won’t come loose with normal chewing. These type of fillings aren’t heralded for their attractiveness, and the metal can change form, expanding and contracting as time goes on, which can cause it to crack.
Porcelain inlays and tooth-colored restorations (onlays) are solid fillings used to restore damaged teeth. They match your other teeth and increase the strength of the affected tooth.