The most common reason a filling is needed is to repair a hole in a tooth caused by decay. A filling can also be used to correct minor chips, fractures, or damage.
There are currently several types of filling materials existing. At Prestige Dentistry, we use the most common kind of material available today for tooth-colored fillings, which is composite. Composite is a tooth-colored plastic or resin substance. The material starts off as a moldable putty-like material that is placed in the tooth and then hardened to make it a permanent restoration.
What to Expect with Tooth-Colored Fillings
At our office, we aim to make our patients comfortable and provide gentle treatment. For this type of procedure, we start by numbing the tooth or teeth needing fillings. After the anesthetic has set in and the tooth is numb, the cavity is ready to be removed from the tooth. The shape of the tooth is changed to remove the cavity and provide a place for the filling material.
Sometimes, a metal band or plastic strip may be put temporarily to maintain the shape of the tooth during filling placement. Next, the tooth is prepared for bonding the material by applying different adhesives. The composite is then placed and hardened by using an ultraviolet curing light. The material is shaped to look like a natural tooth, then we check your bite and polish the filling to resemble a smooth tooth.
What Happens If a Cavity is Not Treated?
Decay is caused by bacteria that eat away at the tooth, creating a hole, or cavity. Initially, you may not even know you have a cavity because there is no sensitivity. The longer these bacteria are present in your tooth, however, the more damage they cause and the more temperature sensitive the tooth becomes.
Once decay reaches the second layer of the tooth, the cavity quickly increases in size and progresses deeper into the tooth. At this stage, the sensitivity turns into a toothache, which leads to an abscess if untreated. It’s essential to get a cavity treated as soon as possible, as it will allow you to avoid unnecessary pain and also save tooth structure and money in the long run.
What to Expect After Treatment
After your filling, your tooth will function normally again. Since the cavity has been removed, any sensitivity that was previously present will disappear. This means you can enjoy your favorite foods again!
However, all dental restorations do have a lifespan. After getting a filling, it is critical to be diligent with your home care. This helps in extending the longevity of your filling, and your tooth can still get a new cavity if home care is not kept up.
Proper home care involves regular brushing and flossing and maintaining a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables. Avoiding excessive sugars and carbohydrates in your diet also is crucial to preventing new cavities.
For more information, give our Prairieville office a call at (225) 673-0445. We can help get your teeth back to health comfortably and painlessly!