Tooth Fillings

When you want to ensure that your life is as healthy as it could be, one of the most important factors to consider is the state of your oral health. Many individuals place intense focus upon the kinds of foods they are eating and how they affect their physical health, while simultaneously neglecting to give the same scrutiny to their oral health.

To keep your teeth healthy and functional—to help ensure that they last a lifetime—you want to dedicate time to keeping your teeth clean. This includes a good oral care routine, but should also include regular visits to our office so that we can catch any potential issues before they spiral out of control. At Van Alstine Family Dentistry, we take pride in our patients’ oral health. We are happy to offer a wide range of dental services, such as fillings, to our patients.

Why You Might Need A Filling

When it comes to our oral health, many of us dread hearing the word “cavity”. When we say you have a cavity, that means you have an area in your tooth that is decayed. The decay has wormed its way through the healthy surfaces and interior of your tooth to create a space that is either empty or is full of decayed material that should be removed. That area in your mouth is the cavity, a name which makes perfect sense as we will see shortly. When you have a cavity, it is important to have it treated right away to stop the spread of decay and keep as much of your tooth healthy as possible.

The Cavity & Filling Process

Cavities are one of the most common issues that Dr. Van Alstine faces. To treat one, we will numb the area surrounding the tooth so that our patients feel no discomfort during the procedure. We will then clean out the decay in the tooth, leaving a space behind. This space, also known as a cavity, is then filled with dental material that is designed to help protect your tooth and prevent the development of more decay. The filling hardens, and then—depending on the severity of the cavity in question—a cap or crown might be placed on top of it. Should you end up needing a crown or a cap, you will come back in for a second visit as they are custom made to fit your teeth perfectly.

Do Fillings Hurt?

Many patients worry that getting a filling will cause them pain. Remember that the area in question is numbed to ensure that you feel no pain during the actual procedure. After the anesthetic wears off, it is possible that your tooth could be somewhat sensitive or a bit sore, however many patients do not experience notable discomfort or sensitivity at all. Those that do tend to report that the issue fades quickly.

What Are Composite Fillings?

Composite fillings provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid size restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure. In addition to being more aesthetically pleasing, composite fillings are “bonded” or attached with adhesive directly to the tooth surface. This often allows for a more conservative repair than traditional fillings with their inability to bond to the tooth structure. Since traditional fillings do not bond to the tooth, amalgam is packed into the tooth, and may loosen over time. Amalgam fillings often require that more tooth structure be removed to create a space that will hold the filling in place.

Amalgam VS Composite Fillings

Here at Van Alstine Family Dentistry, we know that even minor fillings can make a big difference in your health and well-being. It is important to know exactly what you are getting into before your procedure so that you can have a discussion with us about what is best for your individual needs. At that time, we can also answer any questions that you may have about your fillings, our process, or the safety of the procedure.

What Is A Dental Filling?

At times, you may experience some minor decay in one or more of your teeth. This decay is not severe enough to result in a root canal or a tooth extraction but must be taken care of immediately because it can get to that point if left unattended. To treat the minor decay, we use what is called a dental filling. Conducting this procedure means that we will drill slightly into your tooth to get to spot where the decay is. Then, we can clear the area out until only your healthy tooth remains. To fill in the gap the decay left behind, we use a filling. This filling can come in two varieties, amalgam fillings (metal) or composite fillings (also called “white” or “tooth-colored” fillings).

Amalgam Fillings

When we make metal fillings, we use mercury, copper, tin, and silver, so they are often called “silver” fillings. Though people over the years have expressed concerns over the safety of fillings containing mercury, there is a 150-year track record showing the safety of amalgam fillings. When combined with the other metals, its nature changes and is harmless to its owner. This option is easier to work with than the composite counterparts, so many dentists prefer its use over the other. These are also a stronger option. However, because they can be seen from the outside of the tooth, most of our patients prefer to only use them in the back where they cannot be as easily seen. Approximately 1 billion or more amalgam fillings are placed each year.

Composite Fillings

These are a nice alternative to amalgam fillings. They are tooth colored, so they are nearly indistinguishable from the rest of your natural teeth. This means that contrary to their metal counterparts, no one will see that you have them! These are resin-based, so they are strong as well, just not quite as much so. They are good for your teeth that are closer to the front, however, because they are not easily identifiable and your front teeth do not regularly sustain the same bite force as molars do. These are also a more expensive option and do not last as long as amalgam fillings do. Most last eight to ten years, but some can last over twenty. They are also slightly challenging in that they need to be laid in a tooth that is completely dry, which can be tough in the back of your mouth.

Van Alstine Family Dentistry wants you to look and feel your very best. It is best to treat minor cavities before they become detrimental to your oral health, so be sure to give us a call today to see what we can do to help you.