WHAT IS A TOOTH FILLING?
A filling is a simple restoration procedure primarily used to restore cavities or other mild decay or deterioration. Fillings are extremely common and have a high success rate. We offer options for composite fillings and amalgam fillings—both are safe. Which type we use depends on your needs, but we commonly use composite fillings because they are tooth-colored and appear more natural for teeth that are visible and easier for others to see or notice.
WHAT ARE DENTAL SEALANTS?
Sealants are a thin coating that is painted on teeth to protect them from cavities, they are typically used in children, but can be used in adults as well. This preventative treatment lowers the chances of developing cavities in the deep chewing surfaces of your back teeth. Because these grooves, pits, and fissures are narrow and difficult to clean with a toothbrush, they’re some of the areas that develop cavities first. By placing sealants over your chewing surfaces, we essentially create a shallower area that’s smoother and easier to clean with a toothbrush. That way there’s little to no residual bacteria left inside of the grooves following your typical brushing routine. Sealants are a quick and affordable option to preventing cavities and tooth fillings.
Cavity and tooth fillings are required to repair holes left in teeth due to tooth decay. Left unchecked, decay will continue to spread and damage the tooth. During the filling procedure, dentists clean away decay inside of a cavity, usually with a drill to prevent further damage. But this doesn’t fix the damage that has already been created, so a filling is necessary. Fillings replace the part of the tooth that is missing or destroyed by tooth decay. The dentist molds the filling to match the shape of the surrounding tooth, which restores the strength and integrity of the tooth and prevents further decay.
There are several types of materials available that are used for fillings, which include gold, porcelain, silver amalgam (which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc and copper), tooth-colored plastic and composite resin fillings. There is also a material that contains glass particles and is known as glass ionomer. This material is used in ways similar to the use of composite resin fillings. Which type is used depends on your dentist, the extent and location of your tooth decay, and sometimes, your insurance coverage.
When you get a filling, the area around the infected tooth is numbed by your dentist. As a result, you likely won’t feel anything for an hour or two after your appointment but once the numbing wears off it is typical to feel pain in your teeth and gums.
Pain is common when drinking or eating anything that is hot or cold. It is also common when you brush or floss near the infected tooth. Tender gums are also typical after getting a cavity filled.
Minimize Tooth Sensitivity
You can reduce the sensitivity in your teeth and gums by:
Dental sealants have been used and proven to be effective since the 1970s. They are mainly placed on chewing surfaces and are effective in preventing tooth decay. Their lifespan can vary, but many last years—and it is possible to place a new sealant on a tooth if the sealant wears off. It is important to note that sealants only protect the surface of the tooth they are placed on. Using fluoride and other preventative cleaning practices will still help protect all the surfaces of the tooth from decay and cavities.
If you have additional questions about fillings and sealants, please contact our office and we will be happy to discuss further.