What Are Tooth Fillings?
Fillings are among the most common dental procedures performed at any dentist office. A filling is a dental restoration usually made of metal or a tooth-like resin. Fillings are applied to a tooth that has suffered from dental decay to strengthen it, restore its functionality, and halt the decay process.
Damaged teeth that don’t receive fillings usually get worse over time as decay spreads. As tooth enamel erodes, it also becomes more likely the tooth will get cracked, chipped, or get other damage that makes it difficult to use. In either case, the tooth will usually require extraction.
Luckily, getting a tooth filled promptly can protect it in the long run.
How to Know If You Need a Filling
Most commonly, a filling is called for if a tooth experiences decay and gets a cavity, also known as dental caries. Cavities start out very small, so regular dental checkups can ensure that a cavity gets filled early – before it becomes more serious and threatens the tooth.
A filling is sometimes used when a tooth sustains trauma due to an accident or injury. Chipped surfaces can be repaired and cracks can be reinforced. However, only a dentist can advise you if a filling is truly the best treatment in your situation.
Tooth Colored Fillings
Traditional fillings were made predominantly from metal. The most common of these were amalgam fillings. Also known as silver fillings, they contain a mix of mercury, silver, tin, copper, and other metals. One significant drawback is that they darken over time.
Enter tooth colored fillings, the most popular alternative.
These fillings are made using advanced methods and modern materials. Resin and porcelain are two of the most common materials. Instead of darkening over time like a metal, they simply blend in with the natural shade of your teeth. It is difficult for anyone to even know you have a filling.
What Happens When You Get a Filling
The precise procedure for your filling varies depending on the tooth to be treated and the level of damage. First, the teeth and soft tissues will be numbed, usually using a topical anesthetic. For extensive dental work or those with dental anxiety, nitrous oxide gas (laughing gas) or conscious sedation pills may be used.
Once the treatment area is appropriately numb, a small sheet of rubber is added to help target the particular tooth and prevent liquid from entering the patient’s mouth and throat. Then, the tooth decay is cleaned out and the white fillings are placed.
If you’re considering tooth fillings, you need a St. Louis dentist you can trust. For reliable family dentistry of Ellisville, MO and the surrounding areas, contact Dr. Frith at Masterpiece Smiles.