You, or your child, may need dental fillings in order to protect your tooth and to keep it safe after damage or an infection. Fortunately, there are several options available for people needing a filling and they now come in tooth-colored materials that make it difficult to tell that dental work had ever been completed. At Cute Smiles 4 Kids of San Antonio, we are experts at providing the care your family needs while keeping smiles beautiful.
Most often, a filling is used when treating a cavity. If you, or your child, has a cavity the infected or decayed area will need to be removed. This will leave a small hole or at least dent that needs to be filled in. If it is left open and exposed, it will become an excellent resting place for bacteria, leading to future oral health problems.
Dental fillings are also used to restore teeth that have become worn down or damaged from an accident. Chipped or broken teeth can also be treated with a filling. This is most often seen when people grind their teeth.
If the dentist decides that a dental filling is necessary, they will numb the area before doing any work. This is typically done with local anesthesia so that the patient doesn’t feel any pain but is still awake during the procedure. A dental tool will then remove the damaged area of the tooth. Once the damaged or decayed area has been completely removed it will be cleaned to make sure that there are no lingering bacteria.
If you have a standard metal filling, it will then be placed into the clean area and smoothed out to blend in with the tooth as much as possible. If you have a tooth-colored filling, it will need to be placed in layers. After each layer, a special light is used to harden the material before the next layer is placed. This process helps to create a natural appearance that patients desire.
Types of Fillings
There are several types of dental fillings to choose from, and the decision must be made based on personal preference, goals, cost, and lifestyle.
Gold fillings. These are extremely durable and can sustain hard chewing without needing to be replaced for ten to fifteen years. They are easier to look at than silver fillings but also more expensive.
Silver fillings. These will also last for ten to fifteen years but will not blend in with your tooth, and additional area may need to be removed from the tooth in order to make space for it.
Composites. A composite or tooth-colored filling will blend in with your tooth and be bonded to it for additional strength. They do take longer to place, extending a dental visit by at least twenty minutes. Additionally, they only last for around five years vs. ten to fifteen.
As a patient, it is important to review your options with the dentist prior to deciding which type of dental filling is right for you.
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