From a young age, we are taught that we need to have good oral hygiene in order to keep our teeth and gums in the best possible shape. That means we need to brush our teeth at least twice per day and make sure we floss at least once per day. This eliminates the possibility of food particles and other debris from turning into plaque and tartar which can lead to tooth decay.

Sometimes, though, even with a great at-home dental health regimen, we may develop cavities (tooth decay). When a cavity develops, a patient may experience pain and discomfort in the tooth as well as increased sensitivity. To prevent tooth decay from turning into tooth loss or the need for a root canal procedure, patients should schedule an appointment with our Homewood, AL, restorative dentistry expert at Shades Creek Dental.

What Are Dental Fillings?

Dental fillings, usually composite resin fillings, are used to medically treat a hole in a tooth called a cavity. During the cavity filling procedure, our dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth tissue and then fill that cleaned-out space with the filling material.

Cavities occur when acids from harmful bacteria in the mouth begin to attack your tooth enamel. Over time, the acids create a small hole in the tooth which, left untreated, can turn into a much larger hole or destroy the tooth. At this point, the remaining tooth will likely need to be extracted, and patients may consider dental implants to fill the gap.

What Dental Filling Materials Are Available?

In general, a dentist regularly uses composite fillings for this process because unlike gold fillings or silver amalgam, these are tooth-colored fillings. Most patients prefer the newly filled tooth to resemble the color of the existing teeth.

For the purpose of cavity filling, a dentist can use composite fillings (which are most preferred by patients) or amalgam fillings (usually silver fillings). The composite material fillings are great because of the aesthetic appeal and versatility of the material since they can be used for fillings as well as repairs to broken, chipped, or worn teeth. They can also help to preserve the surrounding tooth structure compared to the amalgam fillings.

Amalgam fillings, on the other hand, may not have the same aesthetic quality, but they are durable and can withstand great chewing force. They are also usually less expensive than composite resin material, and they may create a grey hue to the tooth structure remaining around the filling.

Are silver amalgam fillings safe?

For the large majority of patients, there will be no adverse reactions to the silver fillings, but there is a very small percentage of individuals who may have an allergic reaction to the mercury that is used in the dental amalgam filling. Be sure to discuss this with your dentist prior to opting for the silver filling to ensure that you are not in that minority.

Why Do I Need a Dental Filling?

As most people know, dental fillings are used in the process of repairing tooth decay. When a cavity presents itself, it is essential that the hole it creates is filled so that the decay does not worsen or spread to the rest of the tooth. Sound tooth structure remains solid when the cavity is taken care of by an experienced dentist.

Dental experts may also use fillings to repair cracked or broken teeth as well as teeth that have been worn down due to biting nails or grinding of the teeth. Some dentists will use crowns to repair these issues, so it depends on your specific medical situation.

How Do I Prevent Tooth Decay in the Future?

There are several good oral hygiene tips that should be followed to ensure that your teeth are in the best possible health. These include:

  • Brushing gently every day, twice per day, with a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Flossing every day to remove plaque between your teeth
  • Drinking lots of water to induce greater saliva production
  • Rinsing out your mouth after all snacks and meals to make sure that food particles are not allowed to remain stuck in between your teeth
  • Visit our dentist atShades Creek Dental every six months for a check-up and cleaning

If you follow these tips, your oral hygiene should be in great shape, and your dental professional will simply need to provide you with extra support during cleanings and oral health screenings.

What to Expect at Your Dental Filling Appointment

When you visit our dentist for a dental filling appointment, we will first discuss your medical or family history with you so that we are aware of any conditions you may have as well as the medications you are taking. Once we are ready to start the procedure, a local anesthetic will be used to numb the area around the tooth that needs the filling.

Once the anesthetic has taken effect, a drill will be used to dig out the decayed dental tissue. Our dentist will ensure that all decayed tissue has been removed from the area so that the space can then be prepared for the filling material. If the decayed tissue is near the root, we may have to place a liner over the top of it to protect the nerve. Finally, the filling materials will be set into place, and the dentist will finish and polish it so that you can hardly tell it is there.

Contact Our Experienced Restorative Dentistry Experts in Homewood, AL

If you are suffering from pain or discomfort caused by a cavity, do not wait until you need emergency dental treatment before you make an appointment. At Shades Creek Dental in Homewood, AL, our dental team has the experience, skills, and expertise to restore your tooth and make sure you no longer feel any pain in the area.

Our team uses the latest advances in technology to provide you with comprehensive dental care. Contact us today to schedule your next dental appointment!