Worried about tooth decay? Have you been told that you need a dental filling? If you have teeth damaged by tooth decay, a dental filling is the way Dr. Ashlea Drakeford at For You Dental can clean out that tooth make it healthy again.
What are dental fillings?
A dental filling is a type of restorative treatment used to repair a tooth damaged by cavities back to its normal shape and function. The dental fillings procedure involves removing the decayed tooth material, cleaning the affected area and then filling it with a filling material.
Why are dental fillings necessary?
When you have tooth decay and cavities and once there’s already a hole or crack in your tooth, it cannot be repaired by normal bodily regenerative processes. If left alone, tooth decay can worsen, causing damage to neighboring teeth, gums and jawbone. Eventually this can lead to tooth loss. That’s why it’s important to prevent tooth decay, and restore teeth to their normal shape and function as soon as possible once decay has been discovered.
When are dental fillings recommended?
While normally Dr. Drakeford will recommend dental fillings whenever she finds a tooth damaged by decay and cavities, other dental problems such as the following can also be restored with dental fillings:
- Cracked teeth;
- Broken teeth; and,
- Teeth worn down by bruxism, nail biting and using the teeth to open things, and other such “parafunctional habits”.
Dr. Drakeford will conduct an examination to determine what type of dental fillings would offer the best results in your case.
What are the types of dental fillings?
Once Dr. Drakeford determines that you need a dental filling, you have a number of options to consider like the filling material that will be used. The types of dental fillings that you can choose from are amalgam or silver fillings and composite fillings.
Amalgam (silver) fillings
Amalgam or silver fillings are made of a mixture of metals that have been widely used in dentistry. Amalgam is strong and durable, and can last for 10 to 15 years or more. It is also inexpensive compared to the other types of dental fillings. However, because of its noticeable silver color, it is not normally used on the front teeth and other very visible areas of the teeth.
Composite (tooth-colored or white) fillings
Composite filling refers to a tooth-colored dental filling that is made up of a plastic and glass mixture. While this type of filling is usually used for restoring decayed teeth, it is also widely used in cosmetic dentistry in order to reshape disfigured teeth or change the color of the teeth. Cosmetic fillings are the most aesthetically pleasing among the types of dental fillings because of their natural look. They also provide more support to a tooth because they are chemically bonded to its structure. However, cosmetic fillings are less durable and may only last for five years to ten years.
Dr. Drakeford will first examine the tooth location and extent of the decay to determine the best filling for you. Other factors that will also affect the type of dental fillings you can choose from, aside from aesthetic considerations, are the cost of the filling material and your insurance coverage.
What happens during a dental filling procedure?
Dr. Drakeford will first numb the area around your tooth with a local anesthetic. To remove the decayed tooth material, she will then use a drill, laser or an air abrasion instrument. Once all the decay has been removed, she will then clean and shape the tooth to be filled. Once the tooth is ready for filling, Dr. Drakeford will start to fill it with silver amalgam or composite filling. Once the filling is finished, she will then polish the tooth and make sure that your filling doesn’t interfere with proper chewing and biting function. If it does, she will work to reshape the filling until everything fits properly.
How should I care for my teeth after the dental filling procedure?
Taking care of your dental fillings before and after the procedure is quite the same. You just have to be faithful in practicing basic oral hygiene like brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and using mouth rinse. If you have composite filling, you also need to stay away from stain-causing food and drinks like tea, coffee and red wine because it may stain your composite fillings.
In addition, you will also need to schedule periodic check-ups with Dr. Drakeford to ensure that your dental fillings are still working properly. Incidents such as strong chewing, injury or trauma, can result in a cracked filling or a piece of your filling fracturing off. If this happens, call For You Dental right away for an appointment with Dr. Drakeford.
Here at For You Dental, we only want the best for our patients and give them only the best. For You Dental offers dental fillings as well as other general and cosmetic dentistry services to help you regain your confidence in your smile by restoring your damaged tooth to its natural and normal function.
To get more information about us and the services we offer, visit For You Dental in Dallas, TX, today, or call us at (972) 386-4999 to book your appointment!