General – Dental Fillings
What Is A Dental Filling?
Dental fillings or tooth fillings are the most common treatment for cavities and are also used to repair cracked, broken, or chipped teeth. The affected portion of your tooth is removed and replaced with a filling material. Although most fillings today are usually done with tooth colored composite resin, there are other types of filling materials available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The price of a filling is largely dependent on the type of filling material used and most insurances will cover the cost of all but the most expensive types. Dr. Miller will discuss the available options and work with you to determine what’s right for you.
What Filling Materials Are Available at Super Smiles of Burlington?
Silver Amalgam Fillings
Silver amalgam fillings are generally the least expensive filling material and offer additional advantages, such as strength and durability. Disadvantages can include the need for more drilling to remove healthy tooth material in order to make room for the filling, discoloration of the tooth, as well as not matching your tooth’s natural color, cracks and fractures over time, and the small potential for an allergic reaction (1%).
Composite Resin Fillings
Most fillings today are done with a composite resin. Composite resin fillings offer several advantages over other filling materials, such as being virtually indistinguishable from your natural tooth, and they generally require less drilling to remove tooth before installation. The resin material in composite fillings can be specially blended to match your natural tooth color and will be virtually invisible to anyone but a dentist examining your teeth closely.
Cast Gold Fillings
These fillings are among the most expensive and most time consuming to perform, usually requiring at least two visits. However, they’re extremely durable and if you prefer the look of gold to silver, then this may be the choice of filling for you. Aside from the price and time considerations, another disadvantage of gold fillings can be galvanic shock. If placed next to a silver amalgam filling, the interactions between the different metals and your saliva can cause a painful electrical shock.
While extremely durable and attractive, ceramic fillings can cost as much as a gold filling. They are resistant to staining, unlike some composite resin fillings, and last a very long time.
What’s Involved in Filling a Tooth?
After you and Dr. Miller have decided on which material is to be used in your filling, she will begin the procedure by gently numbing the area around the tooth to be worked on, so you’ll have a comfortable, pain-free experience.
After you’ve been prepared and made comfortable, Dr. Miller and her highly trained team of dental experts will then use special instruments to remove the decayed material and possibly some additional tooth to make room for the filling. After all the necessary material has been removed, Dr. Miller will then probe the area to ensure all decayed areas have been removed and will prepare the space by cleaning it of any debris and bacteria. The next steps depend on which material you’ve selected for your filling, but if you went with a composite resin or silver amalgam then the next step is the application of the filling material and ensuring a good fit which allows you to close your jaw in its natural fashion. If you selected a cast gold or ceramic filling, you’ll be fitted with a temporary filling until your permanent filling can be installed.
Temporary Fillings and When You May Need One
Temporary fillings are used in four specific instances: after a root canal, in dental emergencies, such as a toothache, while you’re waiting on your permanent filling, such as in the case of gold or porcelain, or if your tooth’s nerve needs time to rest if it became irritated during a procedure.
Temporary fillings usually only last a month or less and may fall out, wear out, or fracture. If you currently have a temporary filling, be sure to make an appointment for a permanent filling as soon as possible, as complications such as infection could arise if left untreated.
Caring for Your Teeth with Fillings
Caring for teeth with fillings is generally the same oral hygiene regimen recommended by dentists everywhere: brushing your teeth with a toothpaste containing fluoride, flossing, and using an antibacterial mouthwash daily. You should also continue to receive routine cleanings, but if your tooth begins to feel more sensitive than usual, make an appointment sooner to have your filling checked for cracks or improper fit.
You may experience increased sensitivity or discomfort after getting a filling, but this usually subsides within a week or two. Sensitivity can arise from hot or cold temperatures, pressure, air, or sweets. Try to avoid whatever is aggravating your filling for the time being and it should normalize after a few weeks. If you’re still experiencing discomfort after four weeks, be sure to make an appointment with us so we can ensure your overall oral health and comfort.