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  • By Dr. Ron Lo DDS

Dental Fillings

Did you know that though dental fillings are usually recommended for filling cavities in the teeth, there are several kinds of procedures that use dental fillings? Examples of these procedures include repairing teeth damaged by grinding (bruxism) and replacing parts of a broken tooth.

In addition to various procedures, there are different kinds of dental filling options available, each with their own unique benefits. Tooth fillings used today come in porcelain, gold, glass, tooth-colored composite material, and silver amalgam (a composite of mercury, silver, and other metals).

What type of filling works best for you?

The most preferred dental fillings are amalgams and composites, though the type of filling that gets used depends on the budget, insurance, aesthetic choices, and strength. Here is more information on different kinds of fillings and their special advantages:

Amalgam Fillings: Amalgam is one of the oldest fillings used in dentistry and is a mix of many metallic elements. Amalgam fillings are strong, making them ideal for filling cavities in molars (which are responsible for helping you chew). While amalgam fillings are noticeable when one smiles or laughs, they are the least expensive dental filling.

Composite Fillings: Also known as ‘filled resins’, composite fillings are a mix of glass and quartz. They are quite durable and can be also used to assist with chewing. Composite fillings can be designed to match the color of the individual’s teeth.

Metals: Metal dental fillings include gold or silver amalgams. Silver is more affordable compared to Gold, but Gold fillings are favored by most people for their eye-catching and astonishing quality.

Ceramic: Ceramic fillings are made of porcelain. While they are as expensive as gold fillings, they bear a great resemblance to actual teeth and are better protected against stains.

Glass Ionomer: This filling is a mix of acrylic and glass. They are less durable compared to other filling options for every five years they need to be replaced. However, when this filling is implemented it releases fluoride to help protect teeth.

How are they inserted into your teeth?

After the type of filling is chosen, the dentist will proceed to insert them. Here is a brief summary of the implementation process:

  • First, the dentist will numb the area with a local anesthetic

  • Second, a drill or laser will be used to remove the decay in the area

  • Next, the dentist will check if all the decay has been removed and will prepare the area

  • Lastly, the dentist will put the filling in the area, proceeding to finish and polish it

How do I take care of my dental fillings?

Once the procedure is complete, you may experience some sensitivity and pain. This is normal and the pain will subside eventually. Still, remember to maintain good oral care by following these important pointers:

  • Dental fillings will last longer if handled by a professional

  • Resist grinding your teeth to avoid wear and tear

  • Use enamel shield toothpaste to protect against future tooth damage

  • Discontinue chewing if you have damaged teeth, as this can make it more complicated and expensive to repair

  • A cavity filling may dislodge from the tooth it is attached to, creating an opening for bacteria to breed and grow

  • Anytime a cavity filling breaks, moves, cracks, or falls off, visit your dentist immediately to replace the filling and to prevent infection of the unprotected tooth

Remember to consult with your dentist!

Taking care of your oral health and maintaining good dental hygiene is an investment in your overall health. Remember to talk to your dental care professional about any concerns you may have regarding dental fillings. If you are experiencing any oral health problems or dental issues, seek professional help and contact your dentist. For more information about dental fillings and dental procedures, consult our team of dental professionals at the Tacoma Dental Group.

A dentist will also be able to spot potential issues and offer treatment solutions. If you are concerned about your oral health or thinking of getting a regular dental check-up done, consult with the Tacoma Dental Group for a personalized experience, specific to your dental needs. Preserve your natural smile by receiving the best dental care from the Tacoma Dental Group!

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