Dental fillings are the most common dental procedure in America, with more than 175 million fillings being placed by dentists each year. Pretty much everyone has at least one filling. But despite how common fillings are, you may still have some questions about them.
So in this blog from Coronado Dental Associates, we’ll answer some of the most common FAQs about fillings so that you can learn a bit more about this procedure, and what to expect when you see Dr. Meadows or Dr. Villalobos for a filling in Coronado.
Modern dental fillings are made of dental composite, which is a blend of a special type of crushed glass and dental resin. They're made to look and feel just like a natural part of your tooth.
Metal-amalgam fillings are also common, though many dentists are phasing them out in favor of tooth-colored materials. These fillings are made of a blend of mercury, tin, copper, and silver. They're a bit more durable than tooth-colored fillings, but they have an unnatural grayish-silver color, so most dentists prefer to use tooth-colored fillings.
Not at all. At Coronado Dental Associates, Dr. Meadows or Dr. Villalobos will completely numb your mouth so that you won’t feel any discomfort. We also offer sedation for patients who may be anxious about having their tooth filled.
First, your dentist will clean your teeth. Then, they will use numbing cream and a needle to numb the treatment site. Once your mouth is numb, they will drill away any damaged or decayed enamel. Then, they will apply the filling material directly to your cavity, shaping and sculpting it to restore the shape and appearance of your tooth.
Finally, Dr. Meadows or Dr. Villalobos will check your bite with a special type of paper, and make any necessary adjustments. Then, you’ll be sent home. The entire process for a single dental filling usually takes between 30-60 minutes.
You need a filling if you have a cavity. Common signs of cavities are sensitive teeth, black or brown spots on a tooth, or a visible hole or pit on your tooth. It can be hard to spot cavities on your own, which is why routine six-month preventive visits are so important. Dentists can catch cavities when they're still small, which makes them easier to treat with a filling.
Your tooth may feel sensitive for a few days after your filling. But if this sensitivity persists, your filling may be too high. A “high filling” just means the filling is sticking out a bit higher than it’s supposed to. When this happens, more pressure is put on your teeth, since they're not meeting properly.
The good news is that this is an easy fix. Your dentist can simply file the filling down a little bit to make sure it fits into your mouth properly.
Composite fillings usually last 7-10 years before needing to be replaced. But with great at-home oral hygiene and routine visits to Coronado Dental Associates, your filling can easily last more than 10 years.
You can treat your filling just like you would treat a natural tooth. Simply brush twice a day for two minutes using fluoride toothpaste, and floss once per day. You also need to come to Coronado Dental Associates for a teeth cleaning and oral exam every six months. That’s it!
Fillings are a common dental procedure, and they're the best way to treat minor cavities before they become worse. If you think you need a filling, you need to get help right away. So don’t wait. Contact Coronado Dental Associates online, or give us a call at (619) 435-0844 to schedule a consultation on Coronado today.