Tooth decay is a common problem that we at Woodcreek Dental treat regularly. One of the best solutions for it remains the use of fillings. They can help restore normal function to a tooth heavily damaged by decay and stop any further harm. There are many types of filling materials. We will guide you to the best possible options based on the location of the tooth, cost, and the extent of the damage.
In diagnosing cavities, we begin with a visual check for discoloration. We then use a dental instrument called an explorer to probe the enamel and check for softness gently. This often indicates decay. Depending on the case, we may use a cavity detecting dye or x-rays to confirm the diagnosis further. Broken or cracked teeth caused by injury or bruxism can also be restored using fillings.
Types of Dental Filling Materials
There are many types of filling material in the market, but here we will look at some of the most popular and their pros and cons. Amalgam (silver) fillings are strong and durable, making them a popular choice for cavities at the back of the mouth. Their metallic appearance and composition are highly noticeable; hence, their use in the most hidden parts. They are also very affordable. Composite fillings are made of a combination of glass or quartz. They can be customized to match existing tooth color and are consequently used in forward-facing teeth. They are durable and work well under moderate chewing action.
Ceramic fillings are also popular for their ability to match tooth coloring and good resistance to staining. They are, however, more expensive than composite options. Metal fillings are mostly made of gold or silver amalgams. They can last as long as 10-15 years, making them a popular choice for those most concerned about durability. Their shiny metal coloring cannot, however, be disguised, so the patient has to decide whether this is the right aesthetic for them.
How Fillings Are Performed
Filling cavities is a fairly simple procedure that should not take more than an hour to complete. After the x-rays have been done and you have been briefed as to what will happen, the dentist will numb the area. This is not often necessary but helps to make patients comfortable. A drill is used to clear away decayed enamel. The dentist will then shape the space to accommodate the filling. A base or liner may be applied to protect the nerves in the tooth’s pulp.
Some etching may also be done to prepare an appropriate surface for the filling to hold. The etching is the creation of tiny holes in the tooth’s enamel. This and the use of bonding material are what will make the filling remain anchored in place. This is the standard routine with composite fillings. For filings that must be exposed to a special light to harden, the dentist will severally do so. After the filling has set, the dentist will then polish the tooth.
To find out if fillings are the right restorative treatment for your damaged teeth, make an appointment with us. Our team is ready to help make a diagnosis and find a solution that will work best for you. Call us at Woodcreek Dental at (805) 482-6389 today.