Fillings

What are Fillings?

A dental filling is a material used for filling holes (cavities) and/or replacing a chipped section of a tooth. These fillings are normally made up of amalgam or resin composite, different materials but both to do the same thing, which is to return the tooth to its normal shape and function. Most dentists go with amalgam as the preferred repair substance as it has a more recognized and studied success and lifespan, in addition to it being more cost effective and easier to work with as opposed to its substitutes.

How Do I Know If I Need A Filling?

The most common issue that leads to a filling becoming a necessity is tooth decay. If caught in time, repair can be done to the tooth to return it to its normal state without further complications. However, in most cases, by the time the symptoms have become noticeable, the decay has typically gotten to the dentine, which is the second layer of the tooth, and at that point requires a filling. Some of the most common symptoms leading to a recommendation of a filling are:

  • Enhanced sensitivity to extreme temperatures
  • Pain when biting or chewing
  • Aches in a specific tooth/area of your mouth
  • Severe pain
  • Dark spot or hole in a tooth
  • Broken or chipped tooth

What If I Choose Not To Get My Tooth Filled

As times go on, prices and convenience of dental work seem to cloud some people’s judgment when deciding whether or not to get work done. However, if repair work is needed yet neglected, major complications can form from just the simplest problems, such as cavities or a small chip in a tooth. If you start to experience a symptom listed above and ignore it long enough, it can not only lead to double or triple the original cost for repair, but in the most extreme cases, can lead to much more serious problems such as illness or disease. If there is any concern a filling or any dental work may be needed, a professional check-up is strongly recommended.

What Does A Filling Procedure Consist Of?

When getting a filling, from the time you sit down to the time you walk out is generally 45-60 minutes. All procedures are different, depending on the extent of the damage, how much repair is needed and the placement of the damaged area. The general procedure to fill a cavity consists of these five steps:

  1. Numbing the area of the procedure with anesthesia
  2. Removing decay using a drill (different tools are used in different situations including laser and air abrasion)
  3. Removing and cleaning out excess particles in and around tooth
  4. Replacing decayed area with filling
  5. Cleaning filling and rinsing mouth of any remaining loose particles

What is the upkeep following the procedure?

Immediately following the procedure, the area of the repair will remain numb for a few more hours and it is recommended to avoid that area when chewing if possible as it will be susceptible to extra sensitivity. In addition to avoiding the area when chewing solids, extreme hot and cold liquids are also something to stay away from in the days following. Past the first week or two following the procedure, there is no extra care other than the normal recommended brushing and flossing throughout the day. Should you experience a constant or increased pain in that area or enhanced sensitivity past the first couple weeks, call or schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately as the filling may need extra maintenance.

Am I a good candidate?

If you would like to schedule a consultation to find out if a filling is necessary, call our offices in Elmwood Park, IL at 708-456-1188 or click here to schedule an appointment online.

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