Tooth Colored Fillings
Getting your cavities filled is often considered to be a normal part of teenage life - but as many as 90% or more adults in America also need fillings. That's why routine dental checkups are imperative throughout your life. While you can still get amalgam (silver) fillings, however, the majority of patients choose instead to receive a composite, tooth-colored filling.
Reasons to Have Your Teeth FilledFillings aren't just for aesthetic purposes, although they can be used aesthetically. If you experience any of the following, it may be time to consider a trip to La Jolla Dental to get your tooth or teeth filled:
Cavities are the result of tooth decay, and are often exacerbated by consuming lots of sugary foods and drinks. Cutting back on added sugar can reduce pain and sensitivity due to your cavities, but you will still need to have them filled to prevent the tooth decay from spreading to surrounding teeth. Chips, cracks, dents, or fractures in your teeth should also be filled, as these openings are more susceptible to tooth decay.
What is a Composite Filling?Also called a white filling, composite fillings are basically silver fillings on steroids. They still fill cavities and cracks, but they look better, last longer, and are more durable.
Composite is made of glass or quartz mixed with a resin. This resin can be colored to match your existing tooth, so if you plan on having your teeth whitened, you should do so before getting your filling. This durable composite mixture can withstand the pressures of chewing for several years; and while they will need to be replaced due to discoloration over time, they can last a long time as long as you brush and floss as recommended.
Composite fillings are also commonly used for cosmetic purposes. Although they do not last as long as crowns or veneers, they can be the ideal solution for small cosmetic fixes, and generally cost a lot less.
Your Dental AppointmentAs far as dental procedures go, receiving composite fillings is a fairly simple and straight-forward process. Dr. Strother will first explain exactly what he plans to do with your teeth. After answering any questions that you may have and making sure you are ready, he will numb your tooth or teeth with an anesthetic. He will also have you set up with a saliva ejector, or "spit sucker," to keep the area where he will be working clean and dry throughout the process.
All the tooth decay that exists in the tooth will have to be removed. Dr. Strother will use a small drill to chip away the decay, leaving only healthy tooth to pack the composite into. Then the composite filling will be bonded into the chip or cavity, and a special light will be used to harden and strengthen the bond. The process shouldn't take longer than an hour or so, and won't hurt at all.
You may experience some tooth sensitivity for about a week after getting it filled, but this is normal. Call our office right away if this sensitivity persists, or if you experience moderate to severe pain.