Tooth Fillings

Restore Your Oral Health And Smile With Natural Tooth Fillings

Out of all of the dental procedures (outside of cleanings and checkups), dental fillings are among the most common. This is especially so for children, who are still learning to properly care for their teeth. Even so, tooth fillings are necessary for patients of all ages, and can help to restore the integrity of a tooth so that it does not need a more serious procedure, or extraction.

What Are Fillings?

Dental fillings are essentially materials that are used to “fill in” a hole in a tooth caused by damage or decay. Generally tooth fillings are the best option when the structure of a tooth is still intact, but there is some minor structural damage that needs to be addressed.

Reasons for Tooth Fillings

Tooth fillings are necessary for saving a tooth that is on the verge of being beyond repair. If a tooth filling is not placed early enough, then the tooth could sustain more damage—leading to a dental crown or even an extraction. This is especially so if a tooth has a minor crack. Without caring for the crack while it is minor, the crack will continue to grow until the crown of the tooth is destroyed.

Often times children will require tooth fillings—especially on their primary (baby) teeth. This is because primary teeth are more likely to get cavities and suffer from decay—both because of the integrity of baby teeth, as well as lack of oral care on the part of the child. Many adults have tooth fillings already that they got when they were kids, and have grown used to. Actually, it’s easy to forget that fillings are even there!

Signs You May Need a Filling

Generally, tooth fillings are needed due to cavities or damage to a tooth (such as cracks). The first sign that a tooth filling is needed may be visual. If you see that a tooth has a crack, you should set up an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to have the tooth repaired.

You also may notice pain in the tooth, as well as sensitivity when eating hot or cold foods. If this is the case, you may have a cavity.

Remember, whether the damage is visible or not, you’ll want to set an appointment with a dentist as soon as you feel pain, pressure, discomfort or sensitivity. You may be able to catch tooth decay or damage early enough to simply get a dental filling, and to avoid having a root canal procedure.

The Procedure

When pain, pressure or visual damage is seen or felt, it’s extremely important to contact your dentist and set an appointment. During the appointment, your dentist will x-ray the tooth to have a look at the extent of the damage. Keep in mind that your dentist will take a look at your teeth during a routine checkup and cleaning, where they may be able to catch any signs of decay early. This is part of why it is so important to go to your dentist twice a year for checkups and
cleanings.

Fillings are a pretty simple procedure, that begin with anesthetic being applied to avoid any pain during the procedure. The decay is then removed from the tooth with a drill. Once the decay has been removed, the tooth will be cleaned out. The tooth filling will then be cemented in.

Keep in mind that after a tooth filling is placed, you may notice some sensitivity. If after a couple of weeks the sensitivity persists, set a follow-up appointment with your dentist. Also make sure to set an immediate appointment with your dentist if your dental filling cracks or shows signs of damage. While dental fillings are strong, they can still be damaged by biting down too hard on a tough piece of food. The tooth surrounding the filling can also still be damaged, and can still suffer from decay. If this happens, you’ll notice pain, and your tooth filling may even fall out!

In order to avoid decay around the tooth fillings (and decay in general), make sure to take proper care of your teeth, gums and mouth overall with proper oral care. Brush, floss and wash out your mouth at least twice a day to ensure the cleanliness of your mouth.

Types of Dental Fillings

There are actually two main types of fillings: metal and composite. Both have their benefits and drawbacks. If you have a noticeable tooth filling in your own mouth, there’s a high likelihood that you have a metal filling.

Metal fillings are dental fillings that are made with amalgam or sometimes even cast gold. The positive of metal fillings is that they are strong, and amalgam can be quite inexpensive. On the other hand, both gold and amalgam are very noticeable.

Composite fillings, on the other hand, are better able to mimic the look of real teeth. These fillings are made with a resin that are similar to the color of teeth, and often go unnoticed. They are generally more expensive, though, and may stain over time.

Both fillings serve a practical function, and are able to help to restore a tooth’s integrity.

Costs

The cost of a tooth filling will depend on the material used, your specific dentist and your insurance company. Most insurance companies will at least partially cover fillings because they are so common, but you’ll still want to check with your insurance company about whether this procedure is covered or not.

Fillings can be avoided, but if you find that you need a tooth filling, don’t panic. It is an extremely common procedure, and your tooth will go back to feeling like normal within a few weeks. After some time, it’s likely that you won’t even notice that the tooth filling is there!

Speak with your dentist about any pain or sensitivity between visits, and make sure to schedule your next appointment in advance. With routine checkups, you’ll catch any cavities early, and avoid more intensive procedures like root canals or extractions.

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Sargon Dental Institute

16101 Ventura Blvd. Suite #350
Encino, CA 91436
(818) 380-9057

www.sargondental.com