AESTHETIC DENTAL FILLINGS
Your Best Choice for Dental Fillings in the Elmhurst Area
Fillings have been a staple of dental practices for over a century, so much so that at this point, pretty much everyone knows the basics of how they work. When a pocket of decay (a cavity) is discovered in a tooth, the dentist drills the decay out and fills the hole it leaves with a substance that prevents further damage.
At Kopp Dental, a practice offering a comprehensive suite of state-of-the-art services, our expert professionals will choose the filling type that’s right for you. We will then perform the procedure in a way that yields the best possible results.
The Basics of Dental Fillings
If you’ve never had a cavity, you are something of a rarity among your Elmhurst neighbors and nationwide as well. According to the US Surgeon General’s Office, 78% of Americans will get a cavity by age 17. Avoiding an excess of sugar, as well as maintaining a regular brushing and flossing routine improve your odds, but even those aren’t absolutely guaranteed to protect you.
Fortunately, dentistry has a remedy for cavities: dental fillings.
A cavity is a spot of decay and breakdown of a tooth. A tooth filling seals the hole and eliminates the decay. If it’s not eliminated, the decay will advance until it reaches the sensitive nerve tissue at the center of the tooth. When this happens, the resulting pain can be severe, and you may need a root canal, a more drastic intervention than a simple cavity filling. So it’s important to get dental fillings if and when your dentist says you need them.
How are Dental Fillings Put in Place?
First, the dentist conducts a clinical examination of the affected area. This includes X-rays that help the extent of the decay. Once the dentist has made this determination, the tooth is anesthetized to prevent any pain or discomfort. For patients who are apprehensive about numbing injections, anti-anxiety medication or nitrous oxide can be administered.
When the tooth is numb, the decay is removed. The filling is inserted, and the remaining tooth structure is “etched” (roughened) with a mildly acidic solution. A translucent cement bonds the cavity filling and the natural tooth material together. The tooth is etched to allow a roughened surface for a better bond. Next, a bonding agent is applied and then the filling is inserted and polished.
What Should You Expect after a Tooth Filling?
Until the anesthesia wears off, which generally takes a couple of hours, it’s a good idea to avoid eating on the side of your mouth with the new white filling or drinking hot or cold liquids. Although many patients experience pain & sensitivity after the procedure, it is not uncommon to experience some sensitivity to heat and cold for a couple weeks after receiving a new white dental filling. If the sensitivity lasts longer than that, though, or if you experience pain when biting down, you may need an adjustment to the filling, and you should call your dentist’s office.
Otherwise, go on brushing and flossing as per your normal schedule and continue to get regular dental checkups and cleanings twice a year.
Your Quick Guide to What to Do and Expect after Dental Fillings
- Numbness should wear off after a couple hours
- Until numbness wears off, avoid hot and cold drinks and chewing on the side of the mouth with the new tooth filling
- It’s common for heat and cold sensitivity to occur
- If heat and cold sensitivity last longer than two weeks, or if biting down produces pain, call your dentist’s office
- Brush and floss as per your normal routine
- Keep to your normal schedule of dental cleanings and checkups
The Types of Dental Fillings
There are two basic types of cavity fillings, metal and composite/tooth-colored. Kopp Dental uses composite fillings. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, although in the modern era, more dentists are increasingly moving toward composite/ tooth-colored fillings. They provide a less conspicuous, more natural appearance and can make it possible to preserve more of the tooth’s natural structure. Some patients even opt to have old metal dental fillings replaced with tooth-colored ones, and such restorations have proved to be safe and durable.
Tooth-Colored Dental Fillings
- Composite fillings are a plastic material that is bonded to the natural structure of the tooth. They’re quite inconspicuous and require less drilling.
- Porcelain tooth fillings are made of cutting-edge ceramics. They can cost more than composites because they may require the use of special computer technology and a dental lab to create. Many people consider them the most aesthetically pleasing alternative, but their relatively high glass content can make them somewhat brittle.