Whether you have lost a tooth due to an accident or injury or you have a form of tooth decay, filling damaged teeth is essential to your oral health. Dental fillings are not only important for preventing further decay, but they are also necessary for reducing the risk of infections that can become painful and infections. If you are part of the many Americans who have untreated cavities or decay, it is time to consider a filling. Using this guide, you will learn a bit more about the process and benefits of dental fillings for your oral health.
Fillings are a Process
Filling a cavity requires more time and effort than most people think. The actual procedure involves a two-step process.
First and foremost, your dentist, someone from a place like Treasured Smiles Dentistry, will conduct a visual examination to determine the severity of the cavity and the broken tooth. All dead and decaying matter is removed from the tooth using specialized scrapers and drills. Before beginning this cleaning, a light anesthetic is administered to numb the mouth, teeth, and gum tissue.
Once all decaying matter is removed, the material is added to fill the tooth. After the procedure, your mouth and lips will feel numb for a few hours, but you should not experience any pain.
There are Different Filling Materials Available
Another surprising fact regarding fillings is that there are many different material options available to you. The best option for your needs will depend on a few factors including the severity of your tooth damage, if you have any allergies, and your budget.
Amalgam, or silver, fillings are the most common option used today because they are inexpensive and durable. The average lifespan of these fillings is between 8 and 10 years, but many of these fillings can last 20 or more years with proper oral hygiene. Because these fillings are easily seen, they are best used to fill teeth in the side and back of the mouth.
Some dentists believe gold is the best material for filling teeth. It is durable and easy to place, but it can be very expensive compared to amalgam.
If you prefer a more natural and realistic look, consider resin fillings. Also known as composite or plastic, resin fillings can be created to match the existing color of your teeth. Unfortunately, resin has its downsides. The material is easy to chip and crack and it can stain, so you may need to reduce your consumption of wine, coffee, soda, tea, and tobacco products.
Lastly, porcelain is an option your dentist may recommend if you prefer a durable and stain resistant filling. Porcelain is bonded to the tooth for a secure and natural look, but they can be one of the most expensive options for restoring your smile.
Maintenance Is Important
Maintaining the look and durability of your fillings is important, but you do not need to stress over it.
Make sure to continue brushing, flossing, and rinsing as normal once you receive your fillings. You should also schedule routine checkups with your dentist, since fillings will erode and break down over time.
Avoid using your teeth as tools. Biting your nails or using your teeth to open packages and bottles will not only damage your filling, but the extra stress can also break your other teeth.
If you experience pain or sensitivity in the tooth where you have a filling or the tooth feels jagged and sharp, your filling may have cracked. Contact your dentist immediately.
After an x-ray is used to confirm a cracked or broken filling, the leftover material will need to be removed and replaced.
Fillings are great options for restoring your smile and preventing further dental damage, but proper understanding is important. Before you have your tooth filled, use this guide to understand the process and benefits in more detail.