How Dentists Do Fillings
One of the most common procedures in dental companies today, such as for the patients of Dr. Tracey Downtown Dental, is a filling. Fillings have restored teeth for millennia, dating back almost 10,000 years. Because of their longstanding history and continuing material innovation, fillings are a quick process for your modern dentist. Below are the steps involved in how dentists do fillings, so you can know what to expect from your dental restoration visit.
How Dentists Do Fillings
Busy dental offices can fill dozens of patients' teeth in one working day. These procedures save teeth and prevent the alternative procedure, extraction. With a filling, you can keep a restored tooth in your mouth for the rest of your life. This is why dental companies have long focused on how to improve the process and materials used. Thanks to their innovations like composite resin and porcelain, only you and the dentist have to know you have restorations.
For cavity fillings, your appointment will take about an hour. This gives the staff time to provide the proper care and take the steps they need to do their best work. Those steps include:
- Talking to you about your procedure
- Taking X-rays if needed
- Numbing your teeth, gums and skin around the tooth being filled
- Drilling out the decayed parts of your tooth
- Replace the cavity with a filling
Your mouth will feel numb for several hours after your visit. You do not need to worry about any big risks to your health or the tooth itself. You will not feel pain, either.
Besides being used to fill teeth after decay, the filling material can repair other damage, too. For example, your dentist can use composite resin to replace part of a broken tooth to restore its natural appearance and function.
Cavity Filling Types
You have multiple options for your filling types. Your dentist will discuss these options with you. Most dental offices provide gold, tooth-coloured composite resin, porcelain, silver amalgam and glass ionomer. Cost is one of the biggest factors in these types. Another factor is your aesthetic preference, since some look like natural tooth-coloured material and others are visible in your mouth.
Types of fillings include:
Amalgam, a combination of multiple types of metal, has been used for fillings since the 1800s. This material is strong and durable even in the molars, where teeth experience the most chewing pressure. But because they are metal, these restorations are visible in your mouth. They are the least expensive type, however.
Composite resin fillings are made of a combination of glass and quartz filler. The material is customized by your dentist to match your natural tooth color. They are durable and work well throughout your mouth, where moderate chewing takes place.
Gold fillings cost up to 10 times more than amalgam fillings. But some people like the style of gold on their teeth and want the extended durability of this metal. You can expect gold fillings to last 10 to 15 years before requiring replacement.
Porcelain or Ceramic
Ceramic fillings for cavities are tooth-coloured like composite resin. But these do not stain like resin, although you can expect to pay more for this material.
Glass ionomer is a combination of acrylic and glass. These fillings release fluoride to protect your teeth. But they are not as durable as other materials and require replacement in about five years.
Oral Health and Hygiene with Fillings
Immediately following your restoration appointment, you may have some tooth sensitivity or light pain. But this does not last long. You should maintain your home oral hygiene routine to prevent future tooth decay and other oral health problems. Also, continue seeing your dentist regularly for exams and cleanings.