Your goal each time you visit Uptown Dental for a checkup is not to hear those dreaded four words: “You have a cavity.” Many of us, though, won't be so lucky. Fortunately, there are ways to combat cavities when they start to prevent further damage. Tooth fillings do just that. Out of all of our restorative dentistry services, fillings are probably the fastest solution we provide, taking about a half hour to complete.
What are fillings?
Dental fillings are a type of tooth restoration that eliminate damaged areas of decaying material and fill the affected cavity with either amalgam (silver) or composite (white) material. When Dr. Lenz or Dr. Mueller gives you a filling, he will remove the decayed material from your tooth, clean the area, and replace the missing tooth material with the dental filling product to prevent further decay.
Silver vs. White
When it comes to the filling material that will replace the cavity in your damaged tooth, Uptown Dental offers two options—silver fillings or white fillings.
Silver fillings are made of durable amalgam, making them resistant to wear and tear. They typically last about 10 to 15 years. Silver fillings are the most affordable option for fillings; however, they are also the most noticeable because of their darker color. For this reason, some patients choose to use this material only on less visible teeth like molars.
White or tooth-colored fillings consist of a composite resin mixed to match your natural tooth color. The dentist packs the material directly into the cavity and then applies a special light to harden it. Composite fillings are not as resilient as silver fillings, typically lasting three to 10 years. They may also chip or wear over time, so they are not generally recommended for larger fillings. Due to their natural appearance, they are commonly used for front teeth and other more visible areas, however, this also makes them more vulnerable to stains.
Most dentists use both amalgam and composite fillings and there are different reasons to consider either option. Ultimately, the decision is yours and your dentist will provide a high-quality tooth filling with the material that works best for your appearance and your budget.
What to Expect
The process for a tooth filling is fairly simple. The procedure usually only takes about 30 minutes. First, your dentist will give you localized anesthesia to numb the area and make the procedure more comfortable for you. Next, he will use a drill to remove the decayed material and clean up the area to prepare for the filling. The cavity is then filled with the desired material, which may require the use of a light to harden and set the filling. After the filing has been placed, we will polish the tooth and remove any residue from the filling to retain the normal shape and feel of your tooth.