What are the steps involved in getting a dental filling?
- The procedure starts with an exam and consultation with your dentist, who will suggest the best treatment options. Dental fillings are used in cases of tooth decay and minor fractures. More severe dental issues may require other types of restorative treatment, like crowns or implants. Your dentist will inspect your teeth with a dental probe; they may also order an X-ray to get a more detailed look at the severity and location of the decay or fracture.
- Once it has been determined that a dental filling is the way to go, the first step of the procedure is administering a local anesthetic. That numbs the affected area and ensures comfort of the patient.
- Next, the dentist will proceed to remove the decayed or damaged parts of the tooth with a dental drill or a laser. The affected area is cleaned from bacteria and debris with an acid gel. Then, the filling material is applied to fill the cavity. It is important to note that during this time, the affected tooth needs to be isolated. Different adhesives are placed before the composite material. It can then be hardened with a special bonding light.
- Once the filling has bonded, the tooth can be polished. The excess material is trimmed off. This concludes the procedure.
There are many types of dental fillings that can be used to fill cavities, such as direct composite bonding, glass ionomer, porcelain etc. Which filling is the right for you? That depends on many factors: where the cavity is located and its severity, your medical history, preferences, and aesthetics, as well as financial availability. Your dentist will go over the options with you and help you make a decision.
Below you will find short descriptions of available fillings.
- Composite resin fillings are commonly used because their color can be matched to the color of your teeth. They bond with the tooth easily, providing structure. They are, however, not as durable and more expensive than silver amalgam fillings. It also takes about 20 minutes longer to apply them and they can be twice as expensive as amalgam fillings.
- Silver amalgam fillings are very strong but not aesthetically pleasing due to their color. In comparison to other options, they are more likely to expand and contract, which can lead to tooth cracks. They are, however, cheaper than composite resin fillings. They contain mercury, which is a known neurotoxin. The FDA has not found links between silver amalgam fillings and dental health problems. They are considered safe to use for children and adults 6 and up.
- Gold fillings can be exceptionally durable and last even up to 15 years. They are strong but much more expensive than other options. To fit them correctly, more than one visit to the dentist is needed.
- Ceramic fillings are also durable and aesthetically pleasing. They are made of porcelain, which makes them more expensive. They are more stain-resistant than composite filling. However, if the porcelain gets rough, it can damage the opposing teeth.
- Glass ionomers (or acrylic fillings) are a good option for children, since their teeth are still changing. They usually last less than five year and are more prone to fractures. They can release fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay.
Once the dental filling procedure is completed, it’s important to talk with your dentist about ways of preventing decay from forming near or under the filling, as well as ways of taking care of your other teeth. Follow up appointments may be necessary.
Taking care of your oral health is important, so make sure you:
- Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste at lease twice a day,
- Use a mouthwash daily (consider a fluoride mouth rinse if you’re at risk of decay).
Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Fillings Cincinnati, Ohio [OH]
Are dental fillings covered by dental insurance?
Whether the fillings are covered by insurance depends on the type of the filling and its cost. Most plans cover the cost of composite fillings (up to the price of a silver filling). However, it is always best to check with your provider. Our friendly staff can help determine the best financing options for you.
When would I need an indirect filling?
An indirect filling is applied when not enough tooth structure is left to support a regular filling, but the tooth’s damage does not merit a crown. Indirect fillings are made in a dental lab; they are similar to composite fillings and require two visits to place. First, the decay is removed, and an impression is taken (to record the shape of the teeth). A temporary filling is placed in a tooth, while indirect filling is made in a lab. During the second visit, the temporary filling is replaced with the indirect one and cemented into place. Inlays and onlays (partial crowns) are two types of indirect fillings. They are very durable and can last up to 30 years. They are made from composite resin, porcelain or gold.
When would I need a temporary filling?
A temporary filling can be placed in a tooth in several cases:
- As “place holders” for permanent fillings that require more than one appointment to be applied (like indirect or gold fillings).
- After a root canal procedure.
- When the tooth’s pulp became irritated and the nerve needs to “settle down”.
- In emergency dental treatments.
Temporary fillings are not meant to last a long time – just as long as it takes to get a permanent filling. They break easily and fracture. If they are worn for longer periods of time, they may lead to tooth infections or complications.