Our teeth are protected from harmful bacteria thanks to the hard enamel that makes up the outer layer of our teeth. Underneath the enamel is the dentin—softer and yellow, which is why teeth look more yellow as enamel thins—and beneath that is where the nerves and tooth blood supply is located.
These systems are threatened when the enamel is breached by tooth decay or other incidents. To protect your teeth from being further issues, our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental recommend dental fillings.
What Is A Dental Filling
A dental filling is a special type of sterile material that is used by dentists to restore teeth. Generally, dental fillings are used to replace the portion of a decayed tooth that our dentists must remove in order to keep the rest of the tooth healthy and cavity-free.
There are also other occasions where our dentists may use fillings. Also, depending on your preferences and our dentists’ recommendations, there are different types of fillings that can be used.
When Are Fillings Done
Teeth can also become compromised in other ways than just developing tooth decay. For instance, if you are prone to grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw, your teeth can become worn down. As your teeth become worn down, they are more vulnerable to bacteria. So, our dentists will use dental fillings to help build up particularly worn-down teeth.
Also, if you have minor chips or cracks in your teeth, our dentists can also use fillings to help rebuild the damaged dental structures and make it harder for a cavity to develop.
Types Of Dental Filling Material Available
Fillings come in a range of materials and appearances. Among the most common are porcelain, composite resin, silver amalgam, and cast gold. Each filling type has advantages and disadvantages.
- Porcelain – Costly choice that is highly resistant to staining. Often called inlays, porcelain fillings are created in a dental lab and are bonded to your tooth. Generally, this type of filling will cover your entire tooth, similar to a dental veneer.
- Composite Resin – Closely matches the color and texture of natural teeth but aren’t as durable as some of the other options. However, composite resin fillings are fairly affordable, and one of the most common fillings you will receive.
- Silver Amalgam – Highly affordable and durable; however, the silver color is quite noticeable and can create a grayish hue in the rest of the tooth.
- Cast Gold – Durable and strong; however, cast gold can be expensive and isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as a non-metal filling. It requires more visits to have a cast gold filling placed.
Steps To Receive A Filing
As cavities are usually what lead to dental fillings, the process to receive a filling is often started by a visit to our dental clinic for one of your biannual preventative cleaning. If tooth decay is found, our dentists will recommend you set up an appointment for a dental filling.
Once you come in for your dental filling, one of our dentists will start by numbing the area where the filling will take place. The local anesthetic will be given time to take effect before our dentists start to remove the affected area of your tooth.
During the decay removal process, there will be moments where our dentists will pause and probe to check for further decay. After all the affected tooth material has been removed, our dentists will clean out the area to prepare it for the filling.
Depending on the type of dental filling you will have applied, there are slightly different steps. To address the most common filling—composite resin—our dentists will apply the tooth-colored resin in layers which will be cured and hardened. Then, when the filling process is completed, our dentists will shape and polish the filling so that it fits in with the rest of your teeth.
Why Get A Dental Filling
Not everyone takes cavities as seriously as dentists do. Sometimes, it can be tempting to put off getting a filling, thinking that a cavity isn’t a serious issue. This perception may be due to the cartoonish depiction that many people grew up with that showed a little cartoon tooth with a tiny dark spot.
The reality is that cavities can become a progressive issue. For one thing, the decay that causes cavities is liable to spread to the neighboring teeth. Having a dental filling will halt this process. Other reasons why you should get a dental filling are:
- Prevent further tooth decay that will lead to you needing a root canal or other more invasive procedures.
- Dental fillings can strengthen a weakened tooth that has been chipped or cracked.
- An old filling fell out, and you need a new one to protect the old cavity’s spot.
Are Dental Fillings Painful
Receiving a dental filling is not painful. Our dentists use a local anesthetic to numb the area where the filling will take place and give the medication time to work before removing the decayed portion of your tooth.
By the time the procedure is finished, you should still be numb. As the anesthetic wears off, you should feel fine with perhaps a little sensitivity as you eat and drink. Either way, you won’t be in pain from your dental filling.
If you do feel any sensations of pain during your filling, be sure to alert our dentists. They will be able to provide you with more local anesthetic to get you properly numbed before working on your teeth.
Other Common Dental Filling Questions
There are other common dental filling questions our dental staff receives from our patients, and if you have been concerned about these things, we hope our answers help.
Can you eat right after a filling?
In most cases, you can eat right after a filling if you have received a composite resin or porcelain filling, as they are cured and hardened in our dental clinic. However, you may want to wait until the numbness has worn off so that you don’t accidentally bite your tongue, cheek, or lips.
If you have received a metal filling, you should wait 24 hours before trying to eat solid foods, as a metal dental filling will not harden as quickly as a composite resin filling.
How long do dental fillings last?
Depending on what type of filling you have received, there is variation in how long they will last. The care you provide will also impact how long your filling will last you. By type, this is how long the various fillings last:
- Composite resin: 3-10 years
- Silver amalgam: 10-15 years
- Porcelain: 10-15 years
- Cast gold: 10-20 years
Will my insurance cover cavity fillings?
Most insurance companies will cover dental fillings to correct cavities. However, they may only cover the cost up to the most affordable option.
So, say you get porcelain fillings, which is one of the more expensive filling options. Let’s say one porcelain filling costs $500. But your insurance only covers the cost of a silver amalgam filling—the most affordable filling that, for the sake of example, costs $150. So, your insurance will cover only $150 of your $500 porcelain filling, leaving you to take care of the remaining $350.
Does my dental filling require special care?
Your filling can be treated much like your natural teeth. Be sure to practice good oral care, and it will last toward the longer end of its projected lifespan.
Bridge Creek Dental Provides Fillings And Other Dental Services
Here at Bridge Creek Dental, we offer an array of services, from preventative dental care to cosmetic dentistry. So, no matter what kind of dental care you need, our dentists can help.
If you suspect that you may have a cavity or need other dental services, please contact us to schedule an appointment with our dentists. We will do our best to ensure you have the healthiest smile possible.Share This: