treat pesky cavities
what are dental fillings
A dental filling is when a material is used to fill a cavity in your tooth. Fillings are available in a variety of materials, but most commonly they are made of composite resin or silver amalgam. A cavity is a hole that forms in the enamel of your tooth due to tooth decay.
It's important to have this decay removed and these holes filled to prevent further damage to the tooth. You could need fillings in cases other than tooth decay, such as if a large portion of the structure of your tooth is missing due to dental trauma.
At Shine Dental, we offer composite resin and amalgam fillings. Dental fillings are an important aspect of preventative dentistry to prevent significant oral decay and damage to the tooth’s structure. To find out more about fillings or to get a cavity filled, contact us online or give us a call at (740) 936-3083 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Katelyn Miller.
restore your tooth
how do fillings work?
Fillings work to restore the structure and function of your tooth by removing any present decay and filling the rest of the tooth with durable material. It is a painless procedure because you are numbed before any drilling is performed in cases of cavities.
First, a rubber sheet will be placed around your tooth to keep the area dry and free from bacteria. Then, a high-speed dental drill is used to completely remove decay inside of the tooth. The final step is to build the structure of the tooth back up by filling the tooth with a dental material such as composite resin or silver amalgam.
There may be some subsequent drilling after the filling has been placed to level off the structure of the tooth, make sure it is level with the others, and won’t affect your bite. The local anesthesia will last for several hours so it is important to refrain from eating or drinking hot liquids until the numbness has worn off to prevent accidental injury.
dont wait for treatment
what happens if i dont get a filling?
It may not always be obvious to the naked eye that you need a filling. Holes in the teeth can be so small that they can only be seen on an x-ray. However, dental fillings are incredibly important at preventing significant damage to the structure of the teeth and further decay.
Destruction of your enamel is irreversible so if you fail to have the decay removed from your tooth and the structure restored with a filling, the decay is only going to worsen and spread throughout the tooth.
Once the decay reaches the soft center of your tooth known as the pulp, it can cause the nerves inside of the tooth to die as well as cause infection. An untreated infection will spread throughout the body and cause very serious health problems if it is not treated with a root canal or extraction.
Dental fillings are relatively inexpensive and simple procedures that can save you a lot of time and money in the long run by preventing significant oral health problems that would warrant root canal treatment or extraction.
types of fillings
composite vs amalgam
The specific filling you will want to choose depends on the location of the tooth, your budget, and how significant the decay is. Typically, teeth that are visible when you smile are filled with composite resin fillings because they match the color of your teeth.
Composite resin fillings have an average lifespan of 7-10 years. However, they are prone to wear and tear, especially when used in teeth that exert a lot of force, such as the molars so they are recommended for teeth in the front of the mouth.
Silver amalgam fillings are more commonly used in the rear of the mouth such as the molars because they are made of metal and have a silver appearance. Amalgam fillings are extremely durable and cheaper than composite resin fillings.
These fillings will last between 10-15 years and can withstand more pressure than composite resin fillings. Amalgam fillings are more suitable for larger cavities where most of the tooth’s structure is missing. However, amalgam fillings contain mercury and while they are considered perfectly safe, they are not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Do dental fillings last?
Most dental fillings last for about 10 years but it depends on multiple factors, such as the material used to fill the tooth, the location of the filling, (front tooth or molar), your oral hygiene, and lifestyle. Amalgam fillings are more durable because they’re made of metal. They can last for up to 15 years and withstand significant force, which makes them perfect for the rear molars.
Composite resin fillings, while more aesthetically pleasing and suitable for front teeth, are not as durable as amalgam ones. They are more prone to chipping, cracking, and wearing down over time, especially in the molars, which are used to chew food. You can expect these fillings to last for 5-10 years.
The best way to increase the longevity of your fillings is to protect them from wear and tear and practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss to prevent tooth decay.
Teeth grinding will wear away your fillings so wear a mouthguard when you sleep if you suffer from bruxism. Avoid chewing on ice, your fingernails, opening packages with your teeth, smoking, or chewing on hard and sticky foods. Avoid acidic drinks and sugary foods and go to regular dental visits every 6 months.
Does Getting A
Dental filling hurt?
No, receiving a dental filling does not hurt and should be completely painless. We take measures to make you comfortable and pain-free. We will numb the treatment site by administering a local anesthetic that numbs your mouth for several hours.
Even after the procedure, you should not feel any discomfort for at least a few hours. You may feel some pressure when we drill out the tooth decay, but it won’t hurt. The whole process can take between 10 minutes to an hour, depending on where the filling is located, and how decayed the tooth is.
Tooth decay can cause uncomfortable toothaches. The procedure will leave you feeling much better and relieve any pain you were experiencing from tooth decay.
While you may experience some tooth sensitivity or discomfort in the first few days following the treatment, this typically only happens if the cavity was close to the root. It will subside within a few days and can be alleviated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication.
Covered by insurance?
Dental fillings are commonly covered by dental insurance, along with preventative care, dental crowns, and root canals. Since dental fillings are a minimally invasive and low-cost treatment that can prevent a cavity from becoming a much more serious problem, they are prioritized for insurance coverage compared to more invasive or cosmetic procedures.
Some insurance providers may cover 25-50% of the procedure while others may cover 80%. It ultimately depends on what insurance you have and what your plan is. You’ll usually have to pay a deductible or meet eligibility requirements. Contact your insurance provider directly to find out how much they will cover. We also accept CareCredit and GreenSky to help you finance your dental treatment.