Tooth Filling Procedure: What You Need to Know
Tooth fillings are an effective option to restore decayed, broken, worn-down, chipped, or cracked teeth. They help to even out the surface of the damaged teeth to improve their functionality and shape while preventing further decay.
The following are a few benefits of having tooth fillings:
- Most types of materials used for fillings are affordable.
- They generally last 2 to 5 years, but the durability varies depending on their type. For example, types such as porcelain fillings and silver fillings can last 10-15 years. Gold fillings can last up to 50 years with proper maintenance, both professional and home care.
- They can be customized to match your original teeth.
How Do You Know If You Need a Filling for Your Tooth?
If you are experiencing the following signs and symptoms, please consult with your dentist to see if fillings are right for you.
1. Experiencing Tooth Sensitivity
This includes experiencing pain, including severe pain or discomfort in your teeth when they are exposed to hot, cold, acidic, sour, sweet foods or liquid beverages.
2. Getting Food Stuck Between Teeth
Food might get stuck on or between teeth because of cracked teeth or space formed between teeth.
3. Having a Hole or Dark Spots on Your Teeth
A tooth cavity can cause a dark area or spot(s) on your teeth that can develop into a cavernous hole if not treated on time.
4. Experiencing Consistent Toothache
Treatment for tooth sensitivity may be an easy fix; inform us of your symptoms so that we can help you with solutions. However, if you experience sharp or throbbing pain for an extended period of time or pain when you bite down or chew foods, you may require a filling or more advanced treatment like a root canal. Once you are aware that your tooth is damaged, it is ALWAYS best to seek immediate care.
5. An Existing Tooth Filling Is Damaged or Lost
If your old fillings are broken, cracked, or lost due to poor oral hygiene or further tooth decay, you need to get them replaced. Long term, (past a couple weeks maximum) you risk needing more extensive care without having definitive care.
6. Your Flossing String Tears
If your flossing string tears every time you floss a particular tooth, it might be time to get a tooth filling or replacement of a worn, non-functional, and leaking older restoration.
What Can You Expect from the Tooth Filling Procedure?
The tooth filling procedure involves the following steps:
1. Tooth Examination
Your dentist will take an X-ray image to check the extent of the damage in the tooth that requires filling. They will also check for other problems, like minor fractures and cavities, and treat them before placing the filling to avoid pain, infection, and further decay.
2. Tooth Preparation
Local anesthesia will be administered to make you feel comfortable throughout the procedure. Once the anesthesia takes effect, your dentist will remove the damaged tooth, clean the debris and bacteria, and prepare it for a filling.
3. Filling Application
Your dentist will place an adhesive material to help the fillings bond well with the tooth. You may require fillings in single or multiple layers depending on the extent of the damage/decay. If you have composite or tooth-colored fillings, a visible curing light will be used to harden the materials.
4. Polishing the Filling
Your dentist will shape the filling to the desired level and polish it to make it feel and look natural. Then, they will have you bite down to make sure that the fillings are perfectly applied and that there will be no issues while eating.
How Long Will the Procedure Take?
The duration of getting a filling varies depending on its type, size, and location in the oral cavity.
- Composite Resin Fillings - These can take up to an hour, but the process can be completed in a single appointment.
- Gold/Porcelain Fillings - These require two visits. One appointment to remove the cavity and prepare the surface and another to cement the restoration.
- Silver Amalgam/Tooth-Colored/Glass Ionomer Fillings - These can take anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour generally.
If you are looking for the best dental restoration or “fillings” to fix your decayed, cracked, or sensitive teeth, visit our practice, Smile Arizona Dentistry in Scottsdale, AZ, or call us at (480) 994-5225 today to schedule an appointment.