Why Dental Fillings Are Important
No one wants to hear their dentist say they need a tooth filling. Yet the truth is, a filling is a surprisingly simple and routine part of dental care that will help save your tooth from the inside out. We’ve answered some of your most common questions about dental fillings below.
What are dental fillings, and why are they used?
A dental filling is a type of restorative dentistry treatment used to repair and restore a tooth that has been damaged by decay, a fracture or enamel wear. To receive a filling, your dentist will first clean the damaged tooth, remove the decaying material, and then fill the space occupying the tooth with the filling material. The filling will help prevent bacteria from entering the damaged area. This preserves the tooth and allows it to continue functioning normally.
What are dental fillings made of?
Today, you have more options for types of tooth fillings than ever before. The materials recommended for a filling will depend on the location of the tooth and severity of the tooth’s decay or damage.
Common materials used include:
- Amalgam. This type of filling has been used for many years by dentists and is made of a mixture of metals, including mercury, tin, silver and copper. Amalgam is strong and long lasting, but because it is very noticeable, these fillings are often used on back teeth where their metallic color is less visible.
Composite. Today’s newer composite resin fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that closely mimic the appearance of natural teeth. Resin fillings typically cost more than amalgam fillings and are slightly less durable, although with proper care can last for several years.
Porcelain. Porcelain ceramic fillings are designed to look just like your natural teeth. They are highly stain resistant, but are also less hardwearing than other filling options.
Gold. Gold fillings are the most durable fillings available, but also the most expensive due to the cost of material used.
Why do I need dental fillings right away?
When you are diagnosed with a cavity or fractured tooth, your best solution is to schedule a visit with your dentist for a filling right away. If decay is left untreated in its early stages, it can quickly worsen and discomfort will increase. Decay can spread deeper inside the tooth, reaching the nerve tissue of the root canal and intensifying tooth pain. If this occurs, additional, more extensive dental treatments may be necessary to effectively treat the problem.
How can I prevent the need for dental fillings?
The easiest way to prevent the need for dental fillings is to practice excellent oral hygiene habits: Brush twice a day using fluoride toothpaste, and floss daily to remove plaque from between the teeth and along the gum line where a regular toothbrush cannot reach. Follow a healthy, well-balanced diet, and limit your intake of sugar and starchy foods that promote cavities.
Most importantly, visit your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings and exams. Your dentist can detect signs of decay in the earliest stages and recommend the best course of treatment.
Dental Fillings With Natomas Crossing Dental Care
At Natomas Crossing Dental Care, we regularly perform tooth fillings and other restorative procedures to help patients regain the full functionality and natural appearance of their damaged teeth. To learn more, contact our office and schedule an appointment today.