Unfortunately, most adults will experience some form of tooth decay during their lifetime. Tooth decay is the result of harmful bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria feed on sugars and other simple carbohydrates in your food, and as they feed, they produce acids that eat away at your tooth enamel. Even with proper oral hygiene, the bacteria in your mouth can lead to tooth decay and eventually cavities.
At Arrowhead Dental, we want to prevent tooth decay and help you maintain a healthy, beautiful smile. When this is not possible, we want to stop the damage before it leads to something worse. To avoid dental crowns, root canals, and tooth extractions, we use dental fillings. Dental fillings are an excellent way to restore a damaged tooth back to its normal shape and function.
Types of Dental Fillings
• Amalgam fillings: Amalgam, or silver fillings, are strong restorations that are resistant to wear and cost-effective. Because they are silver, they are less discrete than porcelain and resin composite fillings. Amalgam fillings are ideal for moderate to large cavities located in a nonvisible area of the mouth, such as your molars
• Composite resin fillings: Composite resin fillings are made from a mixture of plastic and fine glass particles. The ingredients are mixed and placed directly into the cavity in a series of layers. Composite resin can be colored to match the existing shade of your tooth, making them ideal for small to medium cavities located in the visible area of your smile
• Gold fillings: Gold fillings are less common today but work well in areas that must withstand a strong bite force. Gold fillings are made in a laboratory and then cemented into place. Gold is also tolerated well by gum tissue and lasts for several decades
• Porcelain fillings: Porcelain is another aesthetically pleasing material that can be shaded to match the color of your teeth. This type of filling is also produced in a laboratory and cemented into place. Unlike resin composite, porcelain is resistant to staining and mimics the light reflecting properties of natural enamel
Filling a Tooth
A dental filling involves a minor procedure. First, Drs. Morgan, Dover, and Argyle will numb the area using a local anesthetic. Then, we will remove the decayed tooth material and probe the area to ensure that all the decay has been removed. Once all the decayed material has been eliminated, Drs. Morgan, Dover, and Argyle will clean the cavity and prepare the space for a filling. We do not want any bacteria or debris to be trapped underneath the filling. If the cavity is near the root, we may place a liner to protect the nerve. Finally, Drs. Morgan, Dover, and Argyle will place the filling and polish the area.
If the filling is composite resin, the material is applied in layers and cured intermittently. Each layer must be hardened before we can proceed. Once the cavity is filled, Drs. Morgan, Dover, and Argyle will trim off any excess material, and polish the final shape.
When do you need a Filling?
Only Drs. Morgan, Dover, and Argyle can determine if your cavity needs to be filled or not. This takes place during a regular checkup. Drs. Morgan, Dover, and Argyle will use a small mirror or intraoral camera to examine the surfaces of your teeth. If anything looks irregular, we will examine it closely using special instruments. We may also suggest x-rays to attain a more comprehensive image of the tooth. The type of restoration you receive depends on the extent of the decay.
Schedule an Appointment
If you are in need of professional dental care, call 307-789-5210