Tooth fillings are recommended when you have a cavity or perhaps a broken or worn tooth. The recommendation for a filling is to prevent further damage and restore your tooth to be healthy again. Many times small cavities or breaks have no sensitivity but still need to be addressed. A small filling can grow very quickly to involve the nerve, causing an infection and necessitating root canal treatment and a crown or potentially an extraction. Not only do you end up having a tooth ache but the cost escalates as well.
If it is determined that you need to have a filling, there are several options available for types of materials (be aware that some insurances may consider “white” fillings on back teeth as cosmetic and will pay as though silver leaving you will a slightly higher co-pay):
- Gold fillings – this type of filling involves preparing the tooth, taking a mold and sending to our laboratory for fabrication. You will go home with a temporary in place and return in 2 weeks for cementing of the permanent gold. This type of restoration is very durable and non-corrosive.
- Amalgam (silver) fillings – silver colored filling made of a combination of metals including silver, copper, nickel, palladium and mercury. This material has been the standard for years and is strong, durable and quite affordable. It is very common for this type of filling to last 20 plus years.
- Composite (white) fillings – this type of filling is a blend of resins and comes in a variety of shades to match your existing tooth. This type of filling is less durable than the above 2 options and will need to be changed more frequently. For patients with a high cosmetic regard or metal allergies this is a terrific option!
- Ceramic fillings – the process for this type of filling involves 2 appointments. The first is to prepare the tooth and take an impression. You are sent home with a temporary in place. This is sent to our lab where a “porcelain” type filling is fabricated. The next appointment involves cementing the restoration into your tooth. This very durable as well as cosmetic.
- Glass ionomer fillings – on occasion, especially with large restorations, it may be best to use this hybrid material which bonds directly to your tooth and releases a small amount of fluoride over time. This is the ideal restoration material for roots or for fillings that need to be done prior to a crown being placed on a tooth.
What to Expect
Following your diagnosis, you will be scheduled to have your filling done. You will be given the option as to which filling material that you would like to have placed. Once agreed upon, you will become numb using a local anesthetic. A dental hand piece will be used to quickly prepare the tooth to receive the chosen filling. The filling will be placed and polished, your bite will be tested to be certain the new filling is not too tall and you will be dismissed. If a lab is involved, you will need to return in 2 weeks to have your filling placed. On occasion there is some sensitivity which should subside within 48 hours. Please call the office if your feel as though your bite is different or you have hot/cold or sweet sensitivity.
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