A tooth filling is used to fill a hole, usually caused by tooth decay or injury.
Through history, metals like gold and amalgam have been used to fill teeth. At Modern Age Dentistry, however, we exclusively employ white fillings, made of composite resin, a type of plastic called white because it comes in natural tooth colors. Repairs can be made virtually invisible, because composite filling material is available in as many shades as there are tooth colors. Yours will match the shade of your teeth.
How Are Teeth Filled?
Composite fillings are usually placed in just one appointment. To prepare for your dental appointment, be sure to eat a good meal, including protein, fat and carbohydrates. A cup of coffee and a doughnut are not enough! After a good meal, a local anesthetic tends to work better.
Depending on the size of the cavity or damage, the area may be numbed with an anesthetic, which will take a few minutes to take effect. You may feel a buzzing or tingling sensation before the area goes entirely numb. Occasionally, even after the anesthetic has been administered, you may experience some sensation. Just tell your dentist about that. There are many nerves that bring blood and nutrients to your teeth, so there could be an additional nerve needing to be numbed. Since it is difficult to talk with dental instruments in your mouth, you might want to ask the dentist to give you a signal (like raising one hand) to let him know you feel an unwelcome sensation.
While the tooth is numb, the doctor will remove decay as necessary, using a high-speed or low-speed drill, often cooled with water. The dental assistant will hand things to him, remove saliva from your mouth with a little vacuum, rinse as needed, and possibly cheer you up with some jokes.
Before placing the new filling, the doctor will carefully clean and prepare the cavity. Sometimes a special medication is applied to protect a nearby nerve. The composite filling will then be placed, shaped, and finally polished, and you will have the shape and function of your tooth back again.
What to Expect After a Filling
When a filling is first placed, you may notice your teeth are more sensitive to hot or cold temperatures. This sensitivity will subside after your tooth adapts to the new filling.
If you can feel a rough spot on the filling with your tongue, or if it seems to be in the way when you bite, notify your dentist. He will further shape or polish the filling until it is comfortable.
Dental fillings are not permanent, so someday they may have to be replaced. Composite resin fillings, however, are very durable. They last many years for long-lasting, beautiful smiles.
More Information on Fillings
Click this link to watch a Caesy video on tooth fillings.
If you have any questions about dental fillings or composite resin, call us. We are always happy to answer questions, and you will be much more comfortable as a patient if you know what to expect.
Our three dentist offices are conveniently located in West Hills, Ojai, and Los Angeles. So come in – you are welcome!