Is Dental Filling The Right Option For You?
Do you have pain or discomfort coming from one of your teeth? It could be from damaged or decayed teeth. Luckily, if caught early by your dentist, a simple dental filling can be the first step in restoring your oral health!
At Your Dentistry, we have helped patients just like you alleviate their pain and discomfort with our simple dental filling process. Many patients can have their damaged tooth or teeth repaired in just one convenient dental appointment.
Top 7 Signs A Dental Filling May Be Right for You
Dental fillings can be part of many different treatment plans. Seven of the most common causes that require a dental filling include:
Tooth Decay from A Cavity
Tooth decay is one of the most common oral health issues treated with dental fillings in our office. There are many reasons you may experience tooth decay, including harmful bacteria in your mouth, frequently drinking sugary beverages or snacking on foods high in sugar, and poor oral hygiene habits. Some of the most common symptoms of tooth decay or cavities include toothaches, tooth sensitivity, bad breath, noticeable holes, pits, or discoloration in the tooth enamel, and pain while drinking or eating.
Accidental Chipping or Cracking
Tooth enamel is generally very strong when properly cared for with good oral hygiene. However, a strong impact on the jaw such as a car accident, a blow in a fight or sporting event can cause a chip or crack in the enamel. Depending on the amount of damage to the tooth, a dental filling may be a part of your treatment plan. When there are large amounts of damage, a Crown for Teeth or even a Dental Implant may be required.
Grinding or Clenching of Teeth
Tooth enamel can be worn down due to grinding or clenching your teeth while sleeping, doing intense activities, or in just everyday life. Occasional grinding or clenching may have little or no negative damage to the teeth. However, an oral health issue called Bruxism caused by prolonged teeth grinding, can cause more damage.
Many patients tend to grind or clench their teeth in their sleep without realizing it. Common symptoms include waking up with a sore jaw and/or a dull headache. Your dentist may also recommend a mouth guard to help minimize damage.
Chewing on Hard Objects
Occasionally or constantly chewing on hard objects or foods can cause tooth damage. Biting on hard foods like ice, nuts, or hard candies or chewing on pens or pencils have been known to cause chips and cracking in teeth.
Uneven Pressure from Chewing
Tooth enamel can be damaged when pressure is not evenly distributed across your teeth. This is a common side effect of favoring one side of your jaw when chewing food because of pain or discomfort caused by a damaged or missing tooth in another part of the mouth. When damage to the tooth enamel is caused by uneven chewing pressure, it is equally as important to not only repair the damaged teeth, but also the root cause of the problem. Sometimes the cause can be malalignment of the teeth, which can be corrected with orthodontics such as Invisalign.
Normal Wear of Enamel
Unfortunately, even with good oral hygiene practices, tooth enamel can wear down over time and lead to cavities. Factors like genetics will also play a role in how strong your enamel is.
A preventive oral care strategy that includes regular six-month dental exams and cleanings along with proper brushing and flossing habits is the best way to prevent natural enamel wear.
Replace Worn or Old Fillings
With proper care and maintenance, dental fillings can last a long time. However, even with great care, most fillings will need to be replaced at some point. The estimated lifespan of filling depends on the type of material used. Generally, fillings can last between 5-15 years. The most common reason we find patients wanting to replace a dental filling is cosmetic. Thanks to advancements in materials available for fillings, patients can now choose to have old silver fillings made from amalgam replaced with a tooth colored filling made from composite materials.
Common Types of Dental Filling Materials
There are three commonly used materials by dentists for dental fillings, composite resins, dental amalgam, and precious metals (gold fillings).
Referred to as white or tooth-colored fillings, fillings made from a composite resin are the most common type of fillings used at Your Dentistry. Made from a mixture of glass or quartz filler, composite resin fillings provide a high level of durability and resistance against future damage. Your dentist can carefully match the color of the resin to your natural teeth. Composite fillings can last between five and ten years with proper care and maintenance.
When most people think of a traditional dental filling, they will commonly think of dental amalgam or silver fillings. Amalgam fillings were the most popular type of material used by dentists before the development of composite fillings. The amalgam can be created through a combination of materials, including silver, mercury, tin, and copper.
Although amalgam fillings are an affordable and durable option, many dentists have moved away due to public safety concerns about the materials and aesthetic reasons. Many patients will now request that their old silver fillings be replaced with a composite filling to provide a more natural look to their teeth.
Precious Metals (Gold Fillings)
Dental Filling Process
With every dental treatment performed at Your Dentistry our goal is to provide you with the most calming and comfortable experience possible. To alleviate any dental anxiety you may experience, we can offer sedation dentistry options as well as our patient comfort menu.
While every dental treatment can vary depending on your unique needs, a typical dental filling treatment will follow this process.
Exam and X-ray
When you are already experiencing pain, your dentist will speak with you to learn more about the type of pain you are experiencing. They will also want to know if there are any specific activities that cause or elevate the pain. Your dentist will then have an x-ray taken to get a better understanding of the damage or decay you are experiencing. They will then examine the problem area along with the surrounding teeth.
Tooth & Gum Prep
Once your dentist has identified the problem and decided on a treatment plan, then will begin the preparation process. To minimize any pain or discomfort you may experience during the procedure, your dentist will administer a local anesthetic to the area. This will allow the gums and tooth’s roots to become numb during the procedure and minimize pain. The effects will generally wear off within a few hours.
Removal of Decay and Damage
When the anesthetic has taken effect, your dentist will begin to prepare the tooth for restoration. Special dental instruments are used to remove any decay and damaged areas of the tooth. While you may feel vibrations in your gums and jaws, the local anesthetic should prevent any pain or discomfort. After the damage and decay has been removed, the area will be cleansed with an acid gel that is applied to the tooth, which will remove any bacteria and/or debris.
Filling Composite and Placement
With the area prepped, your dentist will mix the composite filling material. During the mixing, they will take great care to match the composite to the natural color of your teeth for aesthetic purposes. To prevent moisture from entering the area, the tooth will be isolated from the surrounding teeth. To help create a strong bond between the tooth and filling, various adhesives will be applied to the tooth. The mixed composite material is then placed on the adhesives and shaped to match your natural tooth. A special bonding light is then placed on the material to harden the filling.
Polishing and Final Adjustments
The final step of the dental filling process will have your dentist do a bite check or bite test. This is done to ensure that your restored tooth lines up with your natural bite pattern. If needed, any high points that are revealed with the bite check will be removed with the use of special dental tools. After your dentist is satisfied with the results, the tooth will be polished, and you can see your restored tooth.
Aftercare and Future Prevention
After your treatment has been completed, your dentist will review how to care for your new filling as well as prevent future damage. As with all dental treatments, good oral hygiene habits, including good home brushing and flossing practices, along with regular dental exams and cleanings, will help extend the life of your dental filling and prevent future issues.
Quit living with pain in your mouth! Contact our office to schedule an appointment and get relief in just hours!
We Look Forward to Meeting You!
We are just off 101 with ample parking in Madrone Plaza, Morgan Hill
Discover Efficient, Predictable, And Convenient Dentistry
Monday 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Tuesday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Wednesday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday by Appointment
Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Sunday – by Appointment