A dental filling is used to restore a tooth that has been damaged due to decay or cavity and in order for your dentist to treat the cavity, they need to remove the decayed part of the tooth. To fill in this missing portion that has been removed, your dentist uses filling and gets your tooth back to its normal shape.
Dental fillings are also used to repair teeth that have been cracked or broken or worn down due to tooth grinding. They are a great option for tooth restoration, so before you start looking for a dentist in Albuquerque to get this procedure, inform yourself further on the topic in our blog.
If you have a cavity or a broken tooth that needs to be treated, the first step your dentist would take is to remove the decayed area using a drill which is an air abrasion instrument. If necessary, they might use a local anesthetic to numb the area surrounding your tooth. The use of anesthetic and the choice of instrument for this procedure depend on different factors such as your pain tolerance, the location of the decayed tooth and the level of complication.
The next thing your dentist will do is to check if all the tooth decay has been removed completely. This is very important because even a tiny little spot can lead to another cavity. Once all decay has been removed, your dentist will clean the cavity out from bacteria and debris and prepare your tooth for the filling. Sometimes, the placement of a thin liner needs to be made before the filling. It protects the nerve and is used if the cavity was deep and near the tooth nerve.
Once all the preparation has been made, the dental filling which is usually tooth-colored is applied in layers. A special light is used after each layer that hardens the material. After this multilayering process is completed, your dentist will polish and shape the filling and will trim any excess material, so that your tooth feels just like before.
Unlike years ago, nowadays there are several dental filling materials available such as gold, porcelain, amalgam or tooth-colored materials called composite resin fillings. The choice of filling depends on your individual case – on the location and extent of the decay, whether you have allergies to certain materials and on your dentist’s recommendation. There isn’t a single type of filling which would be universally fit for every individual. What’s right for one person, may not be the best option for you. Considerations for different materials include:
Most dental insurances do cover the expenses for fillings or at least some part of them. However, you should always check with your dental insurance company to check for details. You can also discuss the different payment plans and financing with your dentist.
To maintain a good oral health, to avoid getting tooth decay and to protect your fillings, you should follow a food oral hygiene routine and go for a dental check-up twice a year. You should visit your dentist for regular deep cleanings as well that will remove build up plaque and bacteria that can damage your teeth. Brushing, flossing and using good antibacterial mouthwash twice a day can also protect your teeth and prevent tooth decay.
If you already have fillings, be observant of any cracks or leaks. If you notice such a thing, make an appointment with your dentist. They may need to take X-rays or replace the filling. You might feel if a filling is broken with your tongue, or your tooth can become extremely sensitive or painful. If you have such symptoms, you should call your dentist immediately.
Allergic reactions to filling materials are extremely rare. According to researches, fewer than 100 allergic reactions to silver filling have ever been reported. The (silver) amalgam fillings are made of mercury, tin, zinc, and copper. In the rare circumstances that there is an allergic reaction, it is one of these metals used in the amalgam restoration that is thought to trigger the allergic response. Amalgam allergy symptoms are similar to those experienced in a typical allergy such as skin rashes and itching. Once an amalgam allergy is confirmed, your dentist can choose another restorative material for your filling.
It’s fairly common and normal to experience tooth sensitivity after the placement of a filling. The tooth where the filling was placed may be sensitive to pressure, sweet foods, hot and cold temperatures, and air. Normally, the sensitivity disappears on its own within a few days. During this period, avoid the things that trigger the sensitivity.
You can also use products that are specially made to treat sensitive teeth. If the sensitivity is unbearable or if it doesn’t subside within two weeks after the procedure, contact your dentist. They can determine what is causing the issue and possibly suggest a root canal procedure.
It’s possible that you feel pain around the fillings too. If it hurts when you bite or chew, the feeling may be interfering with your bite and might need additional trimming and polishing. In such cases, you need to go to your dentist again so that they can reshape the filling until you’re comfortable with it and don’t feel any pain.
If tooth decay has damaged a large part of your tooth, you might need a crown or a bridge instead of a filling because most of the tooth structure will need to be removed. If the damage is deeper and has reached the nerve, you might need to get a root canal treatment in which the damaged nerve is removed.
There’s a wide variety of options when it comes to tooth restoration. All of them have their pros and cons, so you and your dentist can discuss the different types of fillings and resolve what the best one for you is. Your dentist will give you their recommendations based on your individual case, but the final decision will be yours. The most suitable filling for you can be decided depending on factors like cost, what your dental insurance covers, the extent of decay and your personal aesthetic preferences.
No matter which one you choose, the most important thing is to get the decay removed and to have a beautiful healthy smile again. The great news is that nowadays, you can choose what you feel most comfortable and happy with because restorative dentistry is more advanced than ever. So call your dentist today if you have any dental issues and don’t ignore your toothache.