What does the procedure of applying a dental filling look like?
There are several steps in the procedure:
- The first step is a consultation with the dentist followed by an oral exam. The doctor will use a dental probe to check your teeth. You may also get an X-ray, so the dentist can get a closer look at the location and severity of the fracture or decay. Then your doctor will explain best treatment options. Less significant tooth decay and minor fractures can be treated with dental fillings. However, more severe issues may require more complex therapy: crowns, bridges, or implants.
- If a dental filling turns out to be your best agreed upon option, your dentist will administer a local anesthetic to numb the affected area and alleviate any pain, ensuring your comfort.
- The next step is the removal of the damaged or decayed parts of the tooth. To do this, the dentist might use a drill or a laser. They will also use an acid gel to clean the affected area from any bacteria and debris. After that, different adhesives and a filling material are put into the cavity. They are hardened with a special bonding light.
- Lastly, the tooth can be polished once the filling has hardened. Any excess material is smoothed out to improve your bite.
Types of fillings
Direct composite bonding, glass ionomer, porcelain – are just some of the many types of dental fillings used to treat cavities. To choose the right filling for you, it is important to take many factors into consideration: the location and severity of the cavity, your medical history, aesthetics, personal preferences, and costs. Your dentist will explain all available options, and help you make a choice.
Most popular fillings include:
- Composite resin fillings: very widely used due to fact that their color can be customized to match your teeth. These types of fillings provide structure and bond well with teeth. They can be more expensive than others and not as sturdy. They also take a little longer to apply.
- Silver amalgam fillings: strong but not very popular because of their color. The fact that that they often expand, and contract can cause your teeth to crack. Silver amalgam fillings are cheaper than their equivalents. Even though they contain mercury, the FDA has not been able to find evidence that they cause any health problems. They are safe for children and adults ages 6 and up.
- Gold fillings: long-lasting (even up to 15 years) and durable, but much more expensive than other fillings. Multiple visits to the dentist are needed to fit them properly.
- Ceramic fillings: sturdy, nice-looking and stain resistant. Since they are made of porcelain, they tend to be more expensive. It is good to remember that if porcelain get rough, it can damage the opposing teeth.
- Glass ionomers (or acrylic fillings): not durable and prone to fractures; usually last up to 5 years. They are mostly used for children, whose teeth are changing. To prevent tooth decay, they can release fluoride.
After the procedure is over, you should talk to your dentist about ways of caring for your fillings and teeth. Your doctor will tell you how to prevent decay from forming near or around the filling, and what to do to keep your oral health in good shape.
Your smile will stay beautiful if you:
- attend all follow up appointments, cleanings and exams,
- brush your teeth and use a mouthwash at least twice a day (consider getting a toothpaste and a mouth rinse that contain fluoride)
- floss your teeth after eating
- replace your toothbrush every 3- 4 months.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Fillings Columbus, Indiana [IN]
Does my insurance cover dental fillings?
Many insurance plans provide coverage for composite fillings (up to the price of a silver filling). We recommend that you check your benefits to inquire about costs and different types of fillings. Our helpful office staff can provide some insights as well as best financing options available to you.
What is an indirect filling?
When your tooth does not have enough structure to support a regular filling, but the damage is not so extensive as to require a crown, an indirect filling is applied. Indirect fillings are similar to composite fillings; they are made in dental labs and are applied over at least two visits to the dentist. A temporary filling is put onto your tooth before the indirect filling is ready to be used ad cemented. There are two types of indirect fillings: inlays and onlays. They are also called partial crowns. They are sturdy and made from porcelain, gold or composite resin. With proper care, they can last even 30 years.
When are temporary fillings used?
Temporary fillings are used by dentists in several situations:
- They can serve as “place holders” for permanent fillings that are applied over at least two dental appointments (such as gold or indirect fillings).
- They cap the tooth after a root canal treatment, and before a permanent crown is ready to be cemented into place.
- They help calm the tooth’s pulp when it becomes irritated.
- They are used in emergency dental procedures.
Temporary fillings are just what the name implies – temporary. They are only meant to last as long as it takes to make a new, permanent filling. You should be aware that temporary fillings can break and fracture easily. They may even lead to infections or complications if they are worn for prolonged periods of time.
To get more information about fillings, costs and procedures, please feel free to reach out to our office.