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Dental fillings can keep your smile healthy and strong

Have you found yourself plagued with discomfort when trying to enjoy your morning coffee or your favorite dessert? If so, you may have a cavity that will need a dental filling. If left untreated, tooth decay has the potential of causing severe infections, ultimately leading to complex treatments or even tooth loss. There’s no reason to wait. Today’s fillings leave you with less dental problems to worry about in the future, along with a confident and natural smile!

What are dental fillings?

Dental fillings involve placing filling materials to repair cavities and preserve teeth. Once tooth decay sets in, it is necessary to address it as soon as possible to avoid any further enamel deterioration, which could result in tooth sensitivity and further tooth damage. If the decay continues to advance, you may need more involved treatments such as a root canal. In some cases, severely damaged teeth can’t be saved and may require extraction

Dental fillings are not only used to repair cavities, but play a significant role in restoring broken or cracked teeth, or teeth worn out from nail-biting or teeth grinding, a condition known as bruxism. Tooth fillings will restore the look and function of damaged teeth.

Why are fillings necessary?

With bacteria living in everyone’s mouth and on their teeth, every time you consume foods, especially sugary ones, you provide food for the bacteria. After feeding, the bacteria produce an acid that eats away of this teeth. If you do not remove the sticky layer of bacteria, also known as plaque, it will keep working on destroying your tooth structure a little bit at a time, eventually causing cavities.

Once a cavity forms in a tooth, it continues to deepen and cause damage, unless treated. Hundreds of years ago tooth decay caused so much pain that the only option available was tooth removal. Fortunately, today’s modern dentistry has procedures in place to restore and help you retain your decayed teeth. Professionally removing the bacteria in a cavity and replacing the hole with dental fillings will keep your teeth and smile looking great for years to come.

We'll help determine the best type of dental fillings for you

There are many types of dental fillings, including amalgam, composite resin, porcelain, and glass ionomer. The filling right for you will depend on where your cavity is and the extent of the damage. The American Dental Association (ADA) encourages you to talk to your dentist so that together you choose the material that’s right for you.

Amalgam fillings, also known as silver fillings, are made up of a mixture of metals. They have been shown to be safe, and cost less than any other dental fillings. Silver fillings are strong and durable and work well to withstand chewing forces. They often last more than 15 years. Their main drawback is their silver color, which stands out among your natural teeth.

Composite resin fillings, made from a mixture of glass and acrylic resins, are tooth-colored fillings that match your teeth. Composite fillings work best to fill small to medium sized cavities that do not need to withstand as much chewing pressure as your molars. They work well to repair front teeth and can also restore chipped, broken, or worn teeth.

Porcelain or ceramic fillings are durable and aesthetically attractive. They are more expensive than other dental fillings, but these tooth-colored fillings are more resistant to staining and abrasion than composite resin ones.

Glass ionomer fillings are made of a glass and acrylic material. These restorations are usually used to fill primary teeth or cavities below the gum line. They release fluoride, which can help protect a tooth from any further decay. Glass ionomer fillings are not very durable, and are more likely to crack or wear out. They usually last less than five years.

Direct fillings, also known as chairside fillings, are dental restorations that repair small to average-sized cavities. These treatments will require one visit to our dental office where we will remove the decay and fill the space with the filling material. 

Indirect fillings work well when damage to your tooth is too extensive to support a filling, while not severe enough to require the use of a dental crown.  Indirect fillings are created at a dental laboratory and placed onto your tooth during a follow-up session. Indirect fillings come in two different types: Inlays, and onlays. Inlays are cemented inside a tooth within the cusps, while onlays, also known as partial crowns, cover one or two tooth cusps along with filling the cavity. Indirect fillings have been shown to be very durable, often lasting 30 years or even more!

What to expect

Getting a direct filling placed is a relatively easy and straightforward procedure. We will first numb your mouth using a local anesthetic to make sure you are comfortable. We will drill out the decay and clean the area, then replace the cavity with a filling. We sometimes have to use a curing light to harden the material.

If your procedure involves an indirect filling, there are a few differences. We will prepare your tooth the same way as the direct filling; then we will take an impression of your teeth and send it to a dental laboratory which will create your restoration. We will place a temporary filling while your permanent one is being made. During a follow-up appointment, we will set your indirect filling and cement it into place. 

Caring for teeth with dental fillings

Caring for your fillings is the same way you would care for your natural teeth. Make sure to brush and floss your teeth daily, and to rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash. It is necessary to keep up with your checkups and cleanings so that your mouth stays healthy and clean for years to come!

During your visit, we will identify areas where you could improve your oral hygiene. We will give you recommendations on how to better brush and floss your teeth to prevent plaque buildup which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Plan your visit today!

Call us at Lake Oak Dental to learn more about our different restorative procedures. Our experienced and caring team is here to care for all your dental needs. Our goal is to keep your teeth healthy and sound for a lifetime. Now that’s something to smile about!