Gum recession is one of the many conditions that can be treated with the use of composite fillings. Receding gums can reduce confidence in the appearance of a person's smile and increase the risk of tooth sensitivity and decay. Fortunately, with treatment, this condition can often be stopped or reversed.Gum recession occurs when the gums…
A Step-by-Step Guide to Dental Fillings
Cavities, fractures, and other tooth ailments often lead to pain, discomfort, and further complications. Many times, though, a dental filling can lessen the chances of these complications. In fact, according to the NIH, the average American has at least three fillings and 25% have 11 or more. If you suspect your dentist is going to suggest a filling as a treatment, it can help you to understand the step-by-step process.
The process for filling a cavity
The first thing a dentist does for patients who are receiving a filling is to make them comfortable. A topical anesthetic is applied to the gums, as well as a numbing agent all around the tooth receiving the filling, to ensure the patient cannot feel the filling procedure.
Removing tooth decay
Once the patient is numb, the dentist begins the process of removing decay from the affected tooth. The tool used for this has a high-speed motor that applies pressure but typically does not create pain. Once the decay is gone and the dentist sees healthy enamel, it is time to prep the tooth for the dental filling.
Restoring the tooth
Next, the dentist adds the filling to the patient's tooth. There are a variety of filling materials available.
- Cast gold fillings – These fillings last up to 15 years or more, do not corrode, and withstand the force of chewing well.
- Ceramic fillings – Typically made of porcelain, ceramic fillings are stain-resistant and typically last more than 15 years.
- Glass ionomer – Glass Ionomer fillings are useful for fillings needed below the gum line or for children who need them. They also release fluoride to prevent further decay.
- Silver fillings – Silver fillings last up to 15 years and are typically one of the more affordable options.
- Tooth-colored composites – These fillings are made to look closer to the patient's natural tooth color, bond to the structure of the tooth, and are versatile enough to fix a range of dental problems.
After placing the filling the dentists ensures the patient's bite is properly positioned. This may be check by having the patient bite down on a piece of black paper. If teeth are not hitting in the same place, the dentist makes adjustments and continues testing the bite until the patient's teeth all bite at the same time.
Aftercare at home
Once the procedure is finished, the dentist should provide the patient with aftercare instructions. The tooth may be more sensitive to cold for a few days to a few months, with severity depending on how close to the nerve the filling had to be placed. Aftercare treatment usually involves a soft diet for at least 24 hours, avoiding hard food when possible, and taking over-the-counter pain medication as needed.
Receiving a dental filling is typically a fast process with little discomfort or pain. Your dentist can help you decide which material is recommended for your teeth and walk you through the specific treatment process.
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Don't live with a damaged tooth. Call us to see if composite fillings are the best choice for you.Composite fillings are tooth-colored to provide a natural appearance and still remain as effective as other fillings. We use composite fillings to restore teeth and perfect our patient's smiles.Composite FillingsAt Dr. L. M. Kuljis, DDS in Greenwood…
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