Some of us can go our entire lives without the need for a dental filling. But according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, by the time we’re 64 years old, more than 95 percent of us have either dental cavities or missing teeth.
If you’ve been lucky enough so far to not need a cavity filled, you may be a little anxious at the thought of your first filling. But dental fillings are a routine, safe treatment and can be performed quickly with very little discomfort. Here’s what you should know before getting in the chair.
What are Dental Fillings?
A dental filling is a piece of malleable material that is placed into a cavity that has developed in a tooth, with the goal of restoring the tooth’s function and delaying growth of the cavity. Once the material has been placed and shaped in the cavity, it is hardened and the tooth can function properly again.
When are Dental Fillings Needed?
When a hole forms in the exterior of a tooth, whether from decay or trauma, it needs to be filled. If it remains untreated, that hole will only get worse, and allow bacteria to enter the interior of the tooth.
You’ll know that you probably need a filling if you are regularly experiencing sensitivity to heat or cold in the same area of your mouth, if you can visibly see a dark spot or hole on a tooth, experience pain when biting, or the tooth feels rough, chipped, or fractured.
Different Types of Fillings
Dental fillings are manufactured from a variety of different materials, and there is no one ‘best’ material. Your dentist will help make a decision on what to use based on how much repair is needed, the cost, and if you have any allergies.
Fillings are made from safe resin composite materials which match the color of surrounding teeth. They can also be made from gold or silver, but these tend to be more expensive.
Advances in dental filling materials have come a long way. Decades ago, amalgam fillings contained high amounts of mercury, which could be absorbed into the body and caused serious problems. Today’s fillings are considered safe and effective by the dental community.
How Herrick Family Dental Can Help
At Herrick Family Dental, we strive to make your dental filling appointment as comfortable and stress-free as possible. After gently cleaning the surrounding area, the tooth will be numbed, and a safe, composite filling that matches the color of your teeth is placed within the tooth structure.
The filling is then gently polished to give it an even more-natural appearance, blending it to match the surrounding teeth. While you may be a little sensitive to hot or cold drinks for a few hours afterward, the entire process is usually finished in one appointment.
During your consultation we may recommend a different option other than dental fillings depending on the situation. Other restorative dentistry procedures include dental implant placement, dental crowns or dentures.
Getting a dental filling doesn’t have to be a source of anxiety – the procedure is safe, fast, and effective. To learn more about Herrick Family Dental or to schedule your first appointment, contact us online or call our office at 614-891-0440.