When you have tooth decay due to a cavity, we will need to use a filling to correct the problem and preserve the tooth’s structure. It is essential that a cavity is treated as soon as possible to avoid further decay and other, more serious, problems.
Here at Covington Family Dental, we have several options for you to choose from when it comes to fillings. We can also replace old or worn fillings to improve the look of your smile.
How Do Fillings Work?The first step when you need a filling is to clean the decay from the tooth thoroughly. In general, we use a local anesthetic to make the procedure pain-free and put our patients at ease. Depending on the size of the cavity our dentist will use a dental drill, laser or air abrasion tool to remove the decay.
We will carefully examine the area to make sure all the decay was removed and prepare the tooth for the filling. To do this, we clean the area from debris left behind by the drilling and other bacteria. We then prepare the filling material to add to the tooth.
The next step involves using a laser that hardens and sets the filling permanently. Finally, our dentist will remove the excess material and adjust the bite to make sure you’re comfortable with the new filling, and it doesn’t affect your teeth alignment. Polishing to give a natural sheen that matches your teeth is the final step in the filling process.
Types of FillingsThere are many types of fillings available, but, in general, the most common one used these days is one made of composite resin. This tooth-colored material gets applied in several layers until the cavity is completely covered.
You have other options including:
In general, patients prefer materials that won’t bring attention to their dental work, and they choose those that can match their natural color. Metallic fillings are still the most durable and glass is the weakest.
How Long Do Fillings Last?With proper care, a dental filling should last you many years, but at some point, they will need to be replaced. Everyday use will wear out the filling eventually. Certain materials are more durable than others. Glass ionomer is revolutionary because it bonds to the teeth, but it’s fragile and not recommended for molars because of the pressure exerted when biting. Any of the metals are extraordinarily durable, but the presence of mercury concerns patients.
Let us know if you have any questions about dental fillings by calling Covington Family Dental at 253.499.6155.