Almost everyone has had a cavity at some point in their life, often as children. It’s caused by either poor oral hygiene or a diet high in sugar, both of which are more common in kids. You can brush regularly, floss daily and go for bi-annual dentist checkups, but still get a cavity. If it’s discovered in time and not left to fester, your dentist can heal the hole in your tooth with a filling. If you have a toothache, get it treated as soon as possible!
A tooth filling is a way to heal from a cavity. A cavity filling is often done during a scheduled biannual visit to your family dentist at Dental Associates of Morris County. During your exam and cleaning, your dentist or hygienist may find the cavity. You can get the filling that day.
The process, as performed by your New Jersey dentist, removes any tooth decay on, around or in your tooth. Then a filling material fills in the gap to restore your tooth to its natural shape and functionality. Your tooth is as good as new, and as long as you care for it, it will continue to serve you. Otherwise, you may have to return for another filling — or something more serious, like a root canal or an extraction.
Reasons for Needing a Tooth Filling
A cavity filling can be an effective treatment for several dental problems. But it can also treat some dental fractures or cracked teeth. The filling or bonding material used is flexible enough to repair superficial cracks and holes.
In addition to decay, other reasons you may need a tooth filling include:
- A broken tooth that’s still functionally sound
- An accident in which you hit your tooth or jaw
- A physical knock to a tooth
- Certain medications that affect your teeth
- Dry mouth, which limits bacteria-fighting saliva
Visit your family dentist the first time you feel any tooth pain. If a cavity is caught early enough, a simple tooth filling can fix it. Because tooth pain can come and go, remember that the cause of that pain never goes away until you take steps to resolve it.
Getting a Painless Tooth Filling
If your New Jersey family dentist determines you need a cavity filling after an exam that may include x-rays, you can have it done right away, in one visit. After numbing the area around the tooth — with a topical anesthetic before the shot of Novocain so you don’t feel a thing — your dentist clears away all the decay from your tooth.
During this time, you can wear headphones for music or video. If you’re especially nervous about the procedure, even though it’s painless, ask your dentist about sedation dentistry techniques. You shouldn’t need it for this procedure, though.
Your dentist fills in the cavity with bonding material. Then he shapes, hardens and polishes it. You actually have a choice of filling material, and you can sometimes opt for a dental inlay or onlay. No matter what you choose, your tooth will be strong, pain-free and completely functional again.
Tooth Filling Materials and Methods
You didn’t used to have a choice of filling types. You got the silver-colored amalgam, which is a metallic composite. While safe, few dentists still use amalgam. Instead, they use material that can be made to match the color of your other teeth.
Sometimes, your choice is easy. If you need a front tooth cavity filling, for example, you want a material that resembles your enamel, like tooth-colored resin. For a back tooth filling, though, you can choose from a variety of options, such as:
- Porcelain ceramic. Although used more frequently for dental crowns and veneers, porcelain is an excellent material because of how closely it can match the look and color of your teeth. It does tend to be a more expensive option, however.
- Resin. Not as strong as other options, it is the least expensive option and can be color-matched to your teeth. You may need to replace your resin filling every five to 10 years.
- Gold. A long-lasting metallic material, this isn’t pure gold, but it’s still expensive. It’s also used for dental onlays, inlays and crowns.
Dental Onlays, Dental Inlays and Tooth Fillings
While a filling is made of soft material put in place and then hardened, dental inlays and onlays are created from a hard material, similar to the way a dental crown is fabricated. Dental onlays and inlays, therefore, are custom-made, often from an impression made of your teeth. So like crowns, you have to return to have them put in place.
Dental inlays fill a tooth cavity that doesn’t reach the cap or cusp of the tooth. If you need protection for the cusp of a tooth, then you require a dental onlay. They’re both made out of the same strong material, like porcelain or metal. They both need to be cemented in place, and both last longer than a typical filling.
No matter what type of cavity filling you need, contact Dental Associates of Morris County to restore your dental health. From a dental inlay to a front tooth filling, your family dentist takes care of you in comfort and without pain.