Nothing can cause your stomach to sink quite like being told that you have tooth decay. Caused by bacteria that get trapped against your teeth, dental cavities are quite common and – if caught early – can quickly be treated without any long-lasting harm to the affected tooth. Not only does the filling cover the tooth that has been treated for tooth decay, but it also helps maintain the original shape of the tooth, preventing discomfort for you.
It is understandable to be a little bit nervous about getting a dental filling, but we here at El Paso Modern Dentistry want to assure you that we will do everything possible to keep you comfortable throughout the entire filling procedure.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF DENTAL FILLINGS?
Dental fillings are often the first line of defense against tooth decay. When we determine that a patient has a cavity, depending on the location and the severity of the cavity, we often recommend a dental filling to the patient. A dental filling is a fantastic option in many cases, as it allows us to not only remove all of the decay, but we can also close off the opening of the tooth and help prevent bacteria from getting back in there.
A dental filling is a type of restoration that goes into a tooth that has been treated for decay. Before we begin, we may start with X-rays. That gives us a more extensive and thorough view of the tooth. Once we have assessed the tooth, we will then carefully numb the site up with local analgesic (typically lidocaine). We will then gently drill into the tooth using our handpiece to remove all evidence of the decay.
The area will be cleaned, and finally, depending on the type of filling material we use, we will seal off the tooth with the filling material. While the sound may be unpleasant, it is often over quickly, in just a few minutes. If you experience any discomfort at all during this procedure, please let us know immediately, and we can provide you with more anesthetic.
COMMONLY USED MATERIALS FOR FILLINGS
There are three popular types of filling materials that we like to use in our office. Metal fillings are fairly common and are called amalgam. They are made of a combination of metals, including tin, mercury, and silver. Despite its bad reputation, amalgam is quite safe to use in the mouth. It is also quite strong and good for back teeth, like your molars. We do not recommend it for your front teeth, as it can be very noticeable. It may also expand and contract with heat, potentially damaging your tooth.
Another option our patients have is called composite resin. This material is made of plastic and glass or silica. This material has no metal in it, making it a good choice for patients with allergies. We recommend composite resin for your front teeth since it can be brittle and prone to chipping. However, because it is tooth colored, it looks quite natural and attractive looking. We often do not have to remove as many teeth for this type of filling.
Finally, we like using porcelain for our patients. It is both strong and natural looking and does not shrink or expand, making it a good choice for your back teeth. It is also less likely to chip or break and can be dyed to match your natural teeth, making it a fantastic option for your visible front teeth. We strongly recommend porcelain to our patients due to these numerous advantages.