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Dental Fillings at Rincon Family Dentistry

Dental cavities aren’t just painful; they can lead to bone and tooth loss. The process of filling a cavity can be a confusing one, especially for a patient who has never been treated before. In this guide, we’ll explain what fillings are, how they’re done, and how to care for them. 

Dental Fillings: What Are They?
Dental fillings are the most effective way to treat cavities. When teeth decay, they lose function and structural integrity.

Cavities erode the teeth, making them more susceptible to damage and sensitivity. Fillings help dentists restore a tooth’s shape and minimize the risk of further problems.

Today’s fillings are made of numerous materials, with the dentist’s choice depending on various factors. These materials all have unique pros and cons, but our knowledgeable and skilled dentists can help you choose the right type of filling for your needs.

When Do Patients Need Dental Fillings?
Most of our patients get fillings when they have cavities. However, fractures and age-related erosion may also play a role. Fillings can eliminate discoloration and preserve a tooth’s structure.

Before getting a filling, it’s important to consult a dentist who can identify the cause of your discomfort. Sensitivity and tooth pain aren’t always related to cavities, and many conditions have similar symptoms. If you’re experiencing symptoms such as tooth discoloration, visible gaps between teeth, or pain when eating and drinking, be sure to make an appointment as soon as possible.

Filling Materials
Dental care has come a very long way in the past few decades, and silver is no longer the only option for fillings. Today’s dentists use materials such as amalgam, composite resin, porcelain, and plastic to achieve great results. During your pre-treatment consultation, a dentist will evaluate your condition and recommend the best materials for the job.

  • Gold fillings aren’t most patients’ first choice, but they do have advantages as far as strength and durability are concerned.
  • Amalgam/silver fillings have most of the benefits of gold at a much lower cost. They can last up to ten years, and they’re very resistant to chewing forces.
  • Composite fillings are quite popular among public speakers and TV personalities. They’re great for the front teeth, and they’re versatile enough to fix damaged or fractured molars.

Depending on your needs and hygiene habits, our dentists may recommend other materials such as glass ionomer or ceramic for fillings. To learn more about today’s dental filling materials, call our local office.

The Dental Filling Process: What to Expect
Tooth fractures, natural deterioration, and cavities are all treated in much the same way, with minor procedural differences throughout. Here, we’ll explain how fillings are done.

  • First, the dentist or an assistant will provide a dose of a local anesthetic. Unlike general anesthetics, these don’t put you to sleep.
  • The next step may vary depending on the purpose of the filling. For cavities, a dentist will use a laser, an air sander, or a drill to remove damaged parts of a tooth. While the process isn’t painful, the noise can be somewhat disconcerting.
  • During the probing step, the dentist will use a special tool to ensure that all the damaged areas have been removed. With thorough probing, we’ll learn which type of filling will be most effective.
  • Next, the dentist will put the filling materials into the affected area. If tooth-colored composites are used, multiple applications may be necessary.

Finally, it’s time to polish the filled tooth. During the process, the dentist will remove any extra materials and ensure that the treated area’s shape fits well with that of your other teeth.

Dental Filling FAQs
While we’ve done our best to explain common material options and the procedure itself, you may still have concerns about fillings. In this section, we’ll answer some of our patients’ most frequently asked questions.

  • Are fillings covered by insurance? In some cases, yes. Most insurers cover some of the cost of a composite filling, matching what they would pay for silver fillings. 
  • Will an indirect filling work? Indirect fillings are much like composites, with a few minor differences. A dentist will take impressions of the affected area to make a permanent filling, fitting a temporary filling in the meantime. On the next visit, they’ll use a special cement to apply the permanent filling.
  • Do I need a temporary filling? Most patients don’t need temporary fillings unless they’re getting an indirect filling. However, if a tooth’s pulp is irritated, your dentist may need to book another appointment to ensure that the filling is properly seated. Temporary fillings are also used for patients who need root canals. This treatment tends to irritate the tooth pulp, making a temporary filling a good solution.

Whether you’ve had fillings before or you’re being treated for the first time, we’re here to answer all your questions. Request more information via our online contact form or call today to schedule a consultation.

Caring for Your Teeth After a Filling
While fillings offer a lasting solution to cavities, fractures, and age-related deterioration, they need regular care. By brushing twice a day, using gentle toothpastes, flossing regularly, and using antibacterial mouthwash, you’ll set the standard for long-lasting fillings and good oral health. If a filling isn’t fitting well or if the tooth is very sensitive, the filling itself may be cracked or loose—which requires prompt attention.

Are Fillings Always Necessary?
Proper hygiene is the best way to minimize the need for dental fillings, but some conditions, such as accident-related damage and natural deterioration, aren’t preventable. Call us today and we’ll help you create an oral care plan that protects your teeth for a lifetime.

Contact Rincon Dentistry Today
If you’ve been looking for a great local dentist, choose one who will answer all your questions. At Rincon Dentistry, our team strives to help every patient achieve great oral health before, during, and after treatment. We’re here to help you fall in love with your smile! Call us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment. 

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