Dental Restorations (Fillings)
Next to regular dental exams and cleanings, dental fillings are one of the most common reasons to visit the dentist. That’s because tooth decay, the infection that leads to cavities, is the most frequently occurring chronic dental health issue, and fillings are the most common way to treat them. A cavity, or hole in your tooth, forms and grows larger as tooth decay spreads through your tooth structure. Cleaning away the tooth infection (which is caused by excessive oral bacteria) and then filling the cavity stops decay from damaging more of your tooth. It also reinforces the healthy tooth structure that remains, restoring the tooth’s ability to function under your bite’s pressure.
What Is a Dental Filling?
A tooth filling is a restorative procedure that involves two important phases—cleaning away oral bacteria and infected tooth structure, and then replacing the tooth structure that was lost due to the cavity’s growth. Tooth fillings describe a biocompatible material that your dentist places in your cavity after cleaning and sanitizing it. By filling the hole, the restoration reestablishes the tooth’s structural integrity and ability to function properly while preventing more oral bacteria from entering the cavity and causing further infection.
Different Kinds of Tooth Fillings
Like all of today’s dental restorations, tooth fillings can be crafted from a variety of materials, depending on each patient’s unique needs and preferences. For instance, teeth that are under the most pressure, such as molars, may benefit most from a durable, metal amalgam filling. For teeth that are more noticeable when you smile, Dr. Lerner may recommend a tooth-colored filling made from composite acrylic resin or lifelike dental ceramic. A tooth-colored filling not only treats your cavity, but also helps restore the healthy, vibrant appearance of a tooth that shows visible signs of tooth decay.
The Benefits of a Dental Filling
One of the greatest benefits to treating a mild or moderate cavity with a dental filling is alleviating the tooth pain associated with tooth decay. Because sensitivity and discomfort grow worse as decay progresses, early treatment means faster relief. In addition to comfort, other benefits of receiving a tooth filling include:
- Reduced risk of decay in neighboring teeth.Reduced risk of needing endodontic (root canal) treatment.
- Reduced risk of needing endodontic (root canal) treatment.Reduced risk of tooth loss due to
- Reduced risk of tooth loss due to severe tooth infection.
- Improved confidence in your smile and oral health.
- Improved bite function, thanks to the tooth’s restored integrity.