What are Fillings?
Dental fillings are used to treat dental cavities. When a tooth decays, it loses functionality and shape, exacerbating deterioration and causing pain and sensitivity. A dental filling helps restore the tooth’s shape and prevent further damage from decay. Fillings close off the area of the tooth exposed to the cavity, which prevents food, bacteria, and other foreign matter from getting inside.
What Are Fillings Made Of?
Amalgam (silver) dental fillings were standard fare for many years and are still in use in Littleton, but today’s filling options include tooth-colored composite material that’s more visually appealing than silver.
Silver fillings are durable, hold up well to the force of chewing, and tend to be the least costly filling option. They also last the longest, with some silver fillings lasting for a decade or more. The main drawback to silver dental fillings is that they can be unappealing to the eye, and they can cause the remainder of the tooth to develop a grayish look. Treatment may also require that our dentist shave down parts of the tooth that are still healthy to fit the filling in the tooth. And perhaps more ominously, contraction and expansion of silver fillings can result in fractures and cracks in the tooth, necessitating more dental work, pain, and expense.
By contrast, tooth-colored composite dental fillings are an obvious choice for filling cavities in teeth that are visible when our patient opens their mouth, smile, or talk. Composite is a versatile material used in all types of dental repairs, including structural damage, holes, and fractures. Composite dental fillings allow the dentist to remove less of the healthy tooth structure. This filling fits more easily since it doesn’t sit inside the tooth but chemically bonds to the tooth instead.
Why Dentists Recommend Fillings
Cavities are the primary cause for our dentists recommending dental fillings. Still, fillings are also used to treat small holes in teeth that occur due to fractures or even as part of the aging process. Sometimes dental fillings are a good option for treating discolored teeth.
What to Expect When You Get a Filling
Filling a tooth is a relatively simple procedure. Our dentist will:
- Numb the area to be treated using a numbing gel and local anesthetic.
- Grind, shape, and repair the area to be treated using special tools such as a drill, air abrasion tool, or laser. All decay is removed from the tooth.
- Probe the area to assess damage to the tooth’s structure and determine how to fill the area.
- Fill the area using the appropriate filling material.
- Polish the treated area and buff away any residue left from the procedure.
Dental fillings are a safe, effective way to treat cavities in Littleton. Modern techniques make getting a filing nearly painless. Visit Dakota Ridge Dental today to learn about the dental filling options available to you for the treatment of cavities.