At Brentwood Family Dentistry, we treat cavities and tooth decay with fillings. Without treatment, tooth decay will become worse, leading to nerve damage and possibly root canals or other invasive procedures. Fillings are also called restoration, because they restore the decayed tooth, and are also used with broken or chipped teeth as well.
When you come in for a filling, we begin by numbing the gums and jaw around your tooth with local anesthesia. In a few minutes, the area will become numb, so that you will not notice any pain at all during the procedure. Then we take out the damaged part of the tooth with a drill and make sure it is all cleaned out. After cleaning, we fill the tooth with a non-metal material, usually composite or porcelain, which is less expensive than gold or silver, and it will match the color of your teeth. The old gold and silver methods can also be damaging to your teeth and health, because these metals can contain toxins such as mercury. They can also cause fractures and discolorations of your natural tooth color.
With composite fillings, we apply the layers of material to completely fill the cavity. Then we mold the area around the tooth to regain the correct shape. Next we use an ultraviolet light to harden the material quickly and safely. The final step is polishing the tooth, which makes it feel healthy and natural again! The entire process usually takes about an hour.
If the damage is worse, you may need an indirect filling. This type of filling happens when there is not enough tooth structure remaining for a filling, but the tooth is not so severely damaged that it needs a crown. An indirect filling is similar to the procedure above, except that it is made in our dental laboratory and may require an additional visit before being placed. We will take impressions of your teeth and have the filling made in our lab, so that it will be a perfect fit.
Silver amalgam fillings have been widely used for many years due to their strength and durability. However, due to their noticeable silver appearance, they are often used on the back teeth where appearance is less important. On the other hand, porcelain and composite resin fillings are more aesthetically pleasing and are preferred for front teeth where appearance is crucial. These materials are made to match the natural color of the teeth, making them a popular choice for those who want to maintain the appearance of their smile.
In recent years, the use of high strength composite resins has become more popular. This type of resin is strong enough to be used in the back teeth, which used to be filled with metal fillings. Composite resin fillings not only provide a better cosmetic appearance but they also bond directly to the tooth, which helps to preserve more of the natural tooth structure.
In addition to the cosmetic benefits, composite resin fillings have several other advantages over traditional metal fillings. They do not expand or contract with temperature changes like metal fillings, which can cause tooth fractures over time. Composite resin fillings also do not release harmful substances into the body, unlike metal fillings which contain small amounts of mercury.
Think you may have a cavity? Most people do sooner or later! It’s best to consult with a professional early, so that it doesn’t get any worse. You can have tooth decay without experiencing any pain. We are experts in the filling process. We treat you individually, according to your own unique situation. There is not one type of filling that is best for everyone.
Of course, preventing tooth decay is the best option! Visiting our office on a regular basis can keep many of these problems at bay! We will respect your time, work within your budget, and let you make the final decision. Your comfort and safety are our primary concern. We will make your teeth healthy, natural looking and beautiful again!