If you have a decayed tooth, a dental filling will repair the damage and protect your tooth from further harm. Fillings, when applied early, can completely halt the progression of tooth decay and restore your smile. Don't wait until you have a toothache. If you suspect that you may have a cavity, come in for a consultation with our Chevy Chase dentist at Morrison Cosmetic Dentistry to see if you need a filling. Make an appointment at our Chevy Chase or Gaithersburg office today.
Dental fillings are typically used to restore teeth that have been damaged by tooth decay, but can also be used to repair teeth that have been cracked or damaged by oral trauma.
The materials used to create dental restorations can vary, but the process of filling your tooth is the same no matter which material you choose. Dr. Morrison will begin by removing any decayed or damaged tooth material around the affected area to prepare it for the filling.
Next, the treatment area will be filled with the restoration material. If you are receiving a composite filling, the material used to fill your tooth is soft and malleable at first. Dr. Morrison will shape it to fill up your tooth and restore the outer chewing surface. Then, the material sets, and it may be trimmed further, if required. If you are receiving a gold onlay or inlay, the pliable gold foil will be gently compressed into your tooth layer by layer, using specialized dental tools.
A wide variety of different materials can be used to fill a cavity. Amalgam was the most popular material in the past. It’s a blend of a number of different metals like tin, silver, copper and mercury. Because mercury can be dangerous, we do not offer amalgam fillings at our office.
The most popular material used in dental restorations today is called dental composite. With composite fillings, your tooth will be filled with a tooth-colored dental resin. The result is a strong, easy-to-work-with material that looks and feels just like part of your natural tooth. Porcelain can also be used for dental restorations. These types of restorations are called “inlays,” and they are somewhat different than a filling. They’re “indirect restorations,” which means that they are made outside of the mouth, then bonded into place during another appointment.
At our office, we recommend gold work for restorative dentistry due to its strength, durability and flexibility. Gold fillings are also biocompatible and minimally invasive. Call today to schedule a consultation to discuss which type of filling is right for you and your dental health needs!
There are some safety concerns about metal-amalgam fillings. Mercury, which is found in amalgam fillings, is toxic to humans. While amalgam may only be harmful in rare cases, many patients still would prefer to avoid having this metal in their mouths.
Beyond that, amalgam simply does not offer good cosmetic results. It’s durable and strong, but it makes the treated tooth look grayish and discolored. At Morrison Cosmetic & General Dentistry, we want you to always feel proud of how your smile looks. That’s why we’re an amalgam-free office. We believe that alternative materials like gold, ceramic, and composite materials offer far superior results. Come see us at our Chevy Chase and Gaithersburg offices today!
Dr. Morrison will perform an oral exam and take x-rays to look for tooth decay. If the decay has reached the dental pulp, you will require a root canal, but if it’s still concentrated in the enamel, then you’re a good candidate for a filling.
We will administer a local anesthetic to numb your mouth and then use a dental drill to remove the remaining decay from your tooth. From there, we will etch (roughen) your tooth with an acidic gel to help the bonding material that we apply stick to the tooth.
A shade guide will be used to match your natural tooth shade to the composite resin. Then, the resin is applied to the tooth in layers. After each layer is applied and molded to the tooth, it is cured with UV light which instantly hardens it.
After each application has been finished, there will no longer be any holes or pits in your tooth. We will ask you if your bite feels any different and ensure that we file away any excess material before polishing the tooth.
No, apply a numbing gel to the soft tissue inside of your mouth before injecting local anesthesia. The numbing gel prevents you from feeling discomfort from the needle and the anesthetic being injected ensures that you have a completely pain-free dental appointment no matter what dental tools we are using.
While you may feel some pressure or movement around your mouth, it should not be painful. We will check that you are sufficiently numb before proceeding with the filling process. If you’re nervous or have low pain tolerance, we can also offer you additional dental sedation to put you at ease.
You can expect composite fillings to last for an average of 5 to 7 years. However, with proper care, they can last up to 10 years. Composite fillings are not as durable as silver amalgam fillings, but they are much safer, preserve more of the natural tooth structure, and are aesthetically superior.
You may need to replace composite fillings in the rear molars sooner than fillings in the front teeth because chewing forces wear them down over time. To preserve your dental fillings, practice good oral hygiene, reduce your consumption of hard and sticky foods, wear a mouthguard if you grind your teeth while you sleep, and don’t use your teeth as tools.
Dental fillings are considered a preventative dental procedure because they stop tooth decay from progressing deeper into the tooth and require more invasive and costly treatment.
While fillings have traditionally been covered up to 80% by insurance companies, some companies consider composite fillings to be a cosmetic procedure and will not cover them. Contact your insurance provider to find out what they will cover and to what extent.