Find out what situations warrant needing a dental filling and how they could protect your tooth.
Most people know what a dental filling is, as they are one of the most common restorative dentistry services our Shelton, CT, dentists, Dr. Michael Caserta and Dr. Adrian Basu, offer. Of course, if you are about to get one, you may be wanting to learn more about dental fillings, what to expect if you need one and how long they will last.
Why are dental fillings necessary?
As you may already know, a dental filling is placed over a tooth to restore it after decay. Whether you made an emergency trip to see our Shelton general dentist because you started noticing a toothache, or we caught your decay during a routine cleaning, the good news is that we caught the problem while it’s easily treatable.
While decay is often the main reason to need a filling, it isn’t the only reason. If you have a small crack in a tooth, a filling may be all that’s needed to restore the tooth rather than placing a full dental crown over it. If you are an avid teeth grinder (a condition known as bruxism), placing a filling can help to restore a worn-down tooth to prevent issues such as tooth sensitivity.
How is a filling placed?
A filling can be placed in just one visit under local anesthesia, which will numb the area completely before we begin. Once the region is numb, we will use a drill to remove the decay from the tooth. Once removed, the next step is to rebuild the tooth. In most cases, you’ll receive a tooth-colored filling. This resin material will be matched to the shade of the tooth so that the restoration blends right in.
For composite, or tooth-colored fillings, we will apply the moldable material in thin layers. Once each layer is applied and shaped, we will harden it to the tooth with a dental laser. We will continue to apply one layer after the next until the tooth is completely restored. Once the filling is complete, we will polish it to give it a natural sheen that matches the rest of the tooth.
How long will a dental filling last?
This will really depend on a few things including the type of filling you have and how well you care for your teeth after your filling. A metal amalgam filling (while less attractive) can last up to 15 years. Tooth-colored fillings can still last around seven to 10 years before needing to be replaced. Even if composite resin fillings don’t boast the same longevity as a metal filling, they are still exceptionally strong.
Whether you have questions about dental fillings or you need to book your upcoming cleaning, Dental Associates of Shelton, CT, has you covered. Nothing is more important than your oral health. Call us for whatever your smile might need.