The best filling is no filling, but most of us need a dental filling at some time in our lives. Did you know that there are different kinds of fillings, and some even blend in with your natural teeth? The dentists at Natomas Crossing Dental Care examine your teeth carefully, and if we find any signs of decay, we recommend that you come to our office for a tooth filling in Sacramento . A cavity filling can help to prevent further decay that may lead to tooth loss in the future.
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What kinds of fillings are there?
Traditional fillings, or dental restoratives, are made from gold, porcelain or composite materials.
Newer fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, called composite resins, are generally used on all the teeth.
How do I know I need a filling?
Tooth pain or discomfort is one of the most common signs that you need a filling. Other reasons that may indicate you need a tooth filling include:
- A tooth that is sensitive to hot and cold foods or drinks
- Tooth pain when biting or chewing
- Dark spots on a tooth or visible signs of decay
- Chipped or broken teeth
- A broken or lost filling
The only way to know if you need a filling is to see your dentist. Your dentist will carefully examine your tooth and determine the best treatment to restore your tooth.
What tooth filling is right for me?
Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity and expense of dental restorations:
- The components used in the filling material
- The amount of tooth structure remaining
- Where and how the filling is placed
- The chewing load that the tooth has to bear
- The length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth
The ultimate decision about what to use is best determined in consultation with your dentist. The cost of a filling also varies based on each patient’s unique circumstance. At Natomas Crossing Dental Care, our dentists discuss the options with each patient before treatment begins. To help you prepare for this discussion, it is helpful to understand the two basic types of fillings:
- Direct fillings are placed immediately into a prepared cavity in a single visit. These include, glass ionomers, resin ionomers and composite (resin) fillings. The dentist prepares the tooth, places the filling and adjusts it during one appointment.
- Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. Indirect fillings include inlays, onlays, veneers, crowns and bridges fabricated with gold, ceramics or composites. During the first visit, your dentist prepares the tooth and makes an impression of the area to be restored. The dentist then places a temporary tooth filling over the surface where the composite filling or porcelain fillings will be placed. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory where the restoration is created. During the following appointment, your dentist cements the restoration into the prepared cavity and adjusts it as needed.
How do I care for my new filling?
To avoid injury to your mouth, avoid chewing until the anesthesia has worn off following the placement of your filling. Take caution when drinking hot or cold foods, which can cause sensitivity in the first few days of having your new filling. If you experience discomfort, take over-the-counter pain medication as directed by your dentist.
Once your filling has been placed, it is important to continue to practice daily oral hygiene to keep the area clean. Gentle brushing and flossing every day will keep your teeth and gums healthy while protecting against future decay. With proper care, your new filling should be secure, and your tooth can be protected for many years.
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