Fillings are used to repair areas of tooth decay (or cavities), broken teeth, or cracks in teeth. Fillings can be created from several materials – gold, porcelain, silver amalgam, or tooth-colored composite resin. Your dentist will help you decide which option is the most appropriate choice for your fillings.
During your check-up, your dentist may use a sharp-tipped metal tool called an explorer to probe the surfaces of your teeth for decay. X-rays, cavity-detecting dye, and laser fluorescence cavity detection aids can also help find hard-to-see cavities.
If your dentist determines you need a filling, he or she will begin by removing all decay from the tooth. You may receive a local anesthetic to numb the area first. Next, your dentist will remove decay using a drill or a laser.
Once all the decay is removed, your dentist will prepare your tooth for the filling. Different types of fillings require different preparation to ensure they stay in place. Your dentist may put in a base or a liner to protect the tooth’s pulp, or use an etching agent to secure a bonded filling. He or she will then fill the cavity or crack. Certain types of resin fillings are created in layers, and your dentist may stop several times during the filling to shine a bright light on the resin. This light hardens the material.
Your dentist may also choose to use a temporary filling if the tooth needs to heal before being filled, for emergency treatment, or if your fillings will take more than one appointment. These temporary fillings will last no more than a month or two.
Once your filling is secure, your dentist will shape and polish it. The filling should be smooth and not affect your bite. If you discover sharp areas or notice problems with your bite, let your dentist know as soon as possible to prevent damage to your teeth or mouth.
Your tooth may feel sensitive to cold, air, pressure or sweets after a filling. This sensitivity usually goes away within a week or two. If it does not, let your dentist know.
Note that fillings do not last forever, and depending upon the filling material, may need to be replaced. This is especially true for people who grind their teeth or bite their fingernails. Your dentist will examine your fillings during your bi-annual check-ups to ensure the strength of your fillings and determine that no decay or leakage is occurring.
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Premier Dental Group PC is located at 7891 Broadway Merrillville, IN 46410
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Dentist Merrillville IN, Cosmetic Dentistry, (219) 576-6394