Over time, teeth can become worn down and damaged. In addition, a lack of proper dental care can lead to cavities, which need to be treated to ensure no further damage to the tooth. When this happens, restorative dentistry in the form of dental fillings may be required to restore the strength and function of the tooth or teeth.
Restorative Dentistry vs. Preventative Dentistry
The field of dentistry is complex, and there are various specialties within it. The two main types of dentistry are preventative and restorative.
This is what most people think of when they think of going to the dentist. Regular teeth cleanings and checkups fall under this category. However, the main goal of preventative dentistry is to keep your teeth and gums healthy and avoid any type of damage, tooth decay, or need for restorative dental work.
This type of dentistry is needed when there is already damage to the teeth or gums. Typically, the goal of restorative dentistry is to restore the function and appearance of the teeth. Dental fillings are the most common type of restorative dentistry procedure.
What are Dental Fillings?
Dental fillings are used to treat cavities. A cavity is a hole in the tooth that is caused by tooth decay. When a cavity is not treated, it will continue to grow larger and can eventually lead to severe damage to the tooth. Fillings fill the cavity and restore the tooth to its original shape and function.
Types of Dental Fillings
While they have the same function, there are two main dental fillings for patients, depending on their specific needs.
Silver Amalgam Fillings
Amalgam fillings, also known as traditional fillings, are made of metals, including silver, copper, and tin. Dental amalgams have been used for many decades and are a very effective filling. These are also very similar to gold fillings.
The benefits of dental amalgam fillings include:
- The filling material is very strong and durable.
- In addition, they are less expensive than other types of dental fillings.
The downsides of silver fillings include:
- First, they are not as esthetically pleasing as other types of fillings.
- In addition, some patients may be allergic to the metals used.
Composite fillings, also known as tooth-colored fillings, are made of glass or quartz filler and resin. They are designed to closely match the natural color of your teeth, so composite fillings blend in more seamlessly with your smile.
The benefits of composite resin fillings include:
- The filling material is more aesthetically pleasing than the alternatives because the resin material is matched to the existing tooth enamel.
- The dental filling materials used are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
- The tooth-colored material is stain-resistant.
The downsides of composite fillings include:
- They may not be as durable as a metal filling
- They are more expensive than other types of dental fillings
The Filling Procedure
Dental cavities must be treated and filled as soon as possible to prevent further damage, which would require more complex and costly dental procedures.
The filling procedure has been perfected over many years. It is relatively quick and easy and can be completed in just one office visit.
First, the area around the affected tooth with be numbed with a local anesthetic. Next, the dentist will use a drill to remove the damaged tooth material until only sound tooth structure remains. Once the cavity has been cleared, the dentist will place the dental filling in the remaining tooth structure and smooth it out to ensure a comfortable and seamless fit.
After the treatment, the dentist will give you specific instructions on how to care for your teeth and gums. You must follow these instructions carefully to avoid damaging the filling or developing an infection.
After the Procedure
After the dental filling procedure is complete, it is important to take care of your teeth to ensure that the filling lasts as long as possible. Proper oral hygiene habits, including brushing twice a day and flossing daily, will help prolong the life of your filling. In addition, it is important to see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
Mild discomfort, such as sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, is normal for a newly filled tooth. However, if you experience severe pain or discomfort, it is important to contact our office right away.
Dental Fillings in Morristown, NJ
If you think you may have a cavity, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. At Dental Group of Morristown, we offer various preventative and restorative services and are located conveniently in Morristown, NJ. To schedule an appointment, contact our office via phone or online today!