What are Dental Fillings?
Dental fillings are the best way to restore decayed teeth, treat cavities, and prevent further decay and painful complications like tooth infections. In the filling process, damaged and decayed enamel is removed from the tooth, and then is replaced with an inert, tooth-like material such as dental composite or metal amalgam.
By eliminating the weak and damaged tooth material, fillings can completely halt the progression of cavities. Along with proper at-home oral hygiene and a healthy lifestyle, fillings provide excellent long-term protection against future tooth decay. If you have a cavity, or are experiencing dental pain, get in touch with us at All Smiles Dental Studio today to get the assistance you need in Cincinnati.
Composite fillings are made out of a tooth-colored resin that remains easy to shape and sculpt until it is hardened with UV light. Although they’re not as durable as their silver-colored counterparts, they provide a more even, natural appearance, allowing you to smile with confidence.
Metal Amalgam Fillings
Metal amalgam fillings are made from a mix of different metals that form a putty that is placed in the cavity, where it hardens and binds to the tooth. Although they may not be as visually appealing to some, amalgam fillings are a strong, long-lasting solution to tooth decay that may be recommended for patients with certain dental needs.
This primarily depends on the type of material used for your filling, as well as your own personal oral hygiene habits and your lifestyle. For the most part, you can expect composite fillings to last somewhere between 5 and 10 years. Metal amalgam fillings tend to last somewhat longer, with a lifespan of 10-15 years.
So while fillings are durable, they won’t last forever. That’s one of the reasons why it’s important to see a dentist in Cincinnati like Dr. Hanks for six months appointments. During your appointment at All Smiles Dentistry, Dr. Hanks can check your fillings to make sure they’re in good shape, and suggest follow-ups and replacement fillings if they are peeling, failing, or damaged.
This mostly depends on the location of your cavity. Composite fillings are preferred for front teeth or visible teeth, since they have a natural, tooth-like appearance. They are not quite as long lasting as metal fillings, but they do provide much better cosmetic results.
In contrast, Dr. Hanks rarely recommends metal fillings for front teeth, since they have an unnatural appearance. They are better for filling rear teeth which are not as visible. Metal fillings also are more resistant to wear and tear from chewing, which is important due to the high chewing forces of the rear molars and premolars.
How it works: The Veneer Placement Process
Numbing & Cleaning
To begin the filling process, Dr. Beth Hanks will need to numb your mouth and thoroughly clean the tooth and the surrounding area. After a few minutes, she will ensure that your mouth is completely numb before beginning the procedure.
Removing Decayed Enamel
Next, Dr. Hanks will completely remove any decayed enamel. She will use a dental drill to gently remove the affected tooth material, and clean up the filling site to prepare it for the next step of the process.
Filling Application & Trimming
In this step, your Cincinnati dentist will place the filling material directly into the newly-prepared cavity. Then, she will use special tools to shape and sculpt the filling. Once the overall shape is correct, it will be hardened and trimmed using a dental drill to make sure it fits naturally into your bite.
Final Bite Check & Adjustment
As the final step, Dr. Hanks will check your bite using a special type of contact paper to ensure your filling fits properly. She will make any necessary final adjustments and send you on your way with a healthy smile.