Dental cavities are not uncommon. Current estimates suggest that at least 78% of the United States population has had a cavity by the age of 17. Fortunately, there is a time-tested treatment option for cavities: dental fillings.
ManiDental uses fillings in Elkin, NC to do exactly what the name suggests: fill a small hole in the tooth. Cleaning out decay and filling teeth prevents decay from spreading further and causing a severe problem or emergency situation.
Purpose of Fillings
A variety of materials may be used to fill teeth, but all follow a similar process. To start, a clinical exam and x-rays will be given to determine the location and breadth of decay. Decay is then removed using a dental drill and a local anesthetic. The hole left behind is given an acidic solution before the filling is placed and bonded.
Types of Fillings
Dental fillings fall into one of two categories: metal fillings and tooth-colored fillings. Each type has its own particular set of dental advantages and disadvantages. We will go over them in greater detail below.
Types of Metal Fillings
Amalgam – Amalgam fillings are the classic silver fillings associated with dentistry. They are mercury, silver, tin, and copper. Amalgam fillings are strong and affordable but are extremely noticeable when they are placed. They may also require more preparatory procedures.
Cast Gold – Cast gold is among the most expensive filling options currently being used. It is combined with other metals to create a durable (if highly noticeable) filling.
Types of Tooth-Colored Fillings
Composite – Composite fillings are popular for people who want an affordable filing that does not show. Composite fillings are made of plastic and glass. They bond directly to the rest of the tooth and require less drilling and prep work but are more expensive than amalgam fillings and are not as durable.
Porcelain – Porcelain fillings are strong and lifelike and do not stain. They are more expensive than composite fillings but may not be as durable as composite materials.
Glass Ionomer – Glass Ionomer fillings are made of acrylic and glass powder. They are inexpensive and translucent and blend well with teeth. They are also designed to continually release small amounts of fluoride to prevent tooth decay. They are among the least durable options available.
What to Expect After Getting a Filling
A local anesthetic is applied during your dental care appointment. The anesthetic wears off within a few hours of the procedure. To guard against injury, you should avoid drinking hot or cold liquids and eating on the side of the mouth with the filling.
Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures is normal within the first few weeks of healing. Pain and sensitivity that persist past two weeks should be addressed by your dental team.
Brush and floss your teeth as normal and attend all dental checkups and cleanings. Tooth decay is preventable, and your most recent cavity can certainly be your last with appropriate hygiene and oral health practices.
If you are in need of a dental filling in Elkin, NC, schedule an appointment with our family dentistry practice today!
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