A tooth filling is necessary when a tooth has accumulated so much decay that it is either on the verge of making a cavity or has already made a hole in the tooth. The filling replaces any lost part of the tooth, allowing it to maintain its strength and form. If you believe you may require a tooth filling in Salt Lake City, you should learn about the specifics of the procedure.
Do I Need a Filling?
Seeing dark spots on your teeth, feeling pain on a specific tooth or experiencing sensitivity may indicate that a cavity is forming, but this is not always the case.
In order to properly evaluate the need for a filling in a patient, a dentist may try several options. The first and most common method is through the use of a metal pick that will detect soft, weak or sticky parts of the tooth. Cavities can also be detected through the use of x-rays or a special dye.
The Filling Process
Some cavities are very shallow surface cavities and can be treated without the need for local anesthetic, but more severe cavities may call for it and the patient can request it if they are worrying about possible pain issues.
Next, the dentist will use a drill to remove the decayed enamel and dentin within the tooth. Any excess decay will be cleaned out manually.
The dentist will then take the filling material of the patient’s choice or one specifically chosen for the situation and shape it to fit the tooth. If necessary, the dentist may fit the tooth with a base made of a different material to help further protect the nerves in the tooth and ensure that the main filling sticks even better.
The filling is placed within the tooth and carefully shaped to maintain a proper bite. The dentist may request that the patient bite down a few times to both get a visual on the bite and check if the patient feels like the filling is awkward or uncomfortable. If needed, the filling will continue to be ground and shaped until the bite is formed properly and the patient is satisfied.
A special light is then applied to the filling for a short while to help the filling harden quickly. Finally, the filling is polished and given a nice finish before the procedure is complete.
Types of Fillings
The most common type of filling before porcelain became the norm was silver. These fillings are cheaper than porcelain, but they also tend to stick out because of their color.
Porcelain is the most common filling used today. It’s strong and blends in well with the natural color of teeth. However, they are more expensive than silver fillings.
Composite fillings are the cheapest option and they can be made to nearly perfectly match the color of the tooth, but they are also very easy to stain and the weakest of the four options.
Finally, gold is viewed as the most durable option for filling material, but the price and color might deter some patients from seeing it as a viable option.