If you have never had a cavity, congratulations! You’ve got excellent oral health. If you have had one, you are not alone. About 78% of us have had at least one cavity by the time we reach age 17, according to a 2000 report by the U.S. Surgeon General. Fortunately, there’s a time-tested treatment for cavities: the dental filling.(281) 852-2288
Fillings do just what the name implies — seal a small hole in your tooth (i.e., a cavity) caused by decay. This process prevents the decay (a bacteria-induced infection) from spreading further into your tooth and restores your oral health. If untreated, it can continue to the sensitive inner pulp (nerve) tissue located in the root canal. Should that happen, you would need root canal treatment.
There are two broad categories of dental fillings: metal fillings and tooth-colored fillings. Each may offer particular advantages and disadvantages in certain situations.
Newer kinds of fillings made from composite resins and porcelain can restore unsightly fillings; many people are surprised how natural these kinds of filling materials can make a tooth once covered by the old-fashioned silver amalgams. In addition, both scientific studies and clinical experience have shown that tooth-colored restorations (fillings) are safe, reliable and long-lasting.
Not only do tooth-colored fillings offer an aesthetic alternative to “silver” (dental amalgam) fillings that’s hard to match — they may also allow for a more conservative treatment method that preserves more of the tooth’s structure. When you put these advantages together, it’s no wonder some dentists say we’re moving toward a “post-amalgam” era.
Whatever the situation, the best way to determine whether tooth-colored fillings are right for you is to come in and consult with us. We can explain the appropriate options and help you select the best way to proceed with treatment. Either way, you’ll be able to achieve — and keep — a healthy-looking smile.
There are a variety of materials used to fill teeth these days, but the process of filling a tooth is similar regardless. The first step is a clinical exam of the tooth with X-rays to determine the extent of the decay. Then the decayed area of the tooth is removed, usually with a handheld instrument such as a dental drill. Of course, your tooth will be anesthetized first, so you won’t feel any discomfort. If you normally feel nervous about receiving numbing injections, it’s possible that taking an anti-anxiety medication or using nitrous oxide can help you feel more relaxed. After removing the decay, the remaining tooth structure is roughened or “etched” with a mildly acidic solution; then, translucent cement is applied to bond the tooth and the filling material together.
Enjoy your favorite show on the flat-screen TV in your treatment room.
Your little ones can relax with games, toys, and activities!
Have a cup of freshly brewed coffee or a glass of water.
Cozy up with a warm blanket or comfortable pillow on request.