What are Dental Fillings?
The vast majority of people get at least one cavity in their lifetime. Tooth decay is a problem that requires prompt attention. If not addressed right away, a cavity will worsen and, at some point, infection is likely to occur in the central area of the tooth. At that point, a filling would no longer suffice; the patient may need a root canal and dental crown.
A dental filling is a conservative restorative procedure that repairs minor damage from decay. They are made in the office using inert materials that form to the shape of the tooth and help sustain strength for chewing and biting. In our Pembroke Pines office, we use composite dental fillings to achieve optimal results.
What are the Benefits of Dental Fillings?
A dental filling is beneficial because it can halt the progression of tooth decay into deep infection. A composite filling not only repairs the tooth but also restores it to its normal function and appearance. Fillings seal against enamel, so significantly decrease the risk of further deterioration. This is because the filling acts as a barrier against the bacteria that live in the mouth. By placing a filling into a small area of damage, the dentist helps to retain natural tooth structure. Treatment is safe, effective, and also convenient. Composite fillings are placed in a single visit. This restoration can last several years.
Who are the Ideal Candidates for Dental Fillings?
Dental fillings are necessary when a tooth has sustained damage from decay. Patients of all ages can receive a composite filling to repair a tooth and maintain the natural appearance of the smile at the same time. More patients today are choosing composite dental fillings over the silver fillings that have been common for many decades. Silver fillings are dental amalgams that contain a small amount of mercury, which causes concern for some people. The most common reason for choosing composite fillings, though, is to repair a tooth in a way that looks and feels natural.
How is a Dental Fillings Procedure Performed?
When a patient needs a dental filling, the dentist begins by administering numbing medication to the gums. The first step may be to numb the surface of the gums with a topical gel. The second is to use a tiny needle to inject a more powerful anesthetic near the nerves of the tooth. The medication is quickly effective and lasts for the duration of the procedure, so patients do not feel pain.
Once the treatment area is numb, the dentist uses a small drill to remove all decayed enamel. This part of treatment takes only a couple of minutes and feels like minor pressure. The dentist selects a composite resin putty-like material that closely resembles the natural color of enamel and places a small amount into the cavitation. The material is molded to fit completely in the damaged area. Composite is applied in layers to gradually fill the cavity. The surface is shaped appropriately to look and feel natural when chewing, and ultraviolet light may be used to cure, or harden, the filling.
What is the Recovery from a Dental Fillings Procedure?
Patients can expect their mouth to feel numb for up to a few hours after their appointment. We advise them not to eat anything or drink hot beverages until they have regained full sensation in the lips and cheeks. Avoiding chewing anything can prevent accidental injury to the tongue or cheek. Once sensation has returned, patients may feel sore. An over-the-counter pain reliever can help reduce this side effect. While the filling is cured at the dentist’s office, it may be beneficial to eat softer foods on the day of the appointment.
Are Dental Fillings Safe?
Dental fillings are safe. They are effective. And they are necessary. We use high quality composite fillings for our patients to prevent ongoing dental damage that may lead to a need for root canal therapy or tooth extraction. Composite fillings are mercury-free and metal free. This enables the margins of the filling to remain strong and intact amidst the frequent temperature changes that occur in the mouth.