Do I Need A Filling?
Have you ever experienced sensitivity when eating sweets or drinking a hot or cold drink? Or maybe you feel pain when brushing certain areas of your mouth? Answering Yes to any of those questions could mean that you have a cavity.
A cavity is a hole (big or small) that forms in your tooth as a result of decay. To fix your tooth and restore it to its usual shape and function, your dentist will recommend to fill up the hole. Hence: a filling!
Most Common Types of Fillings
Composite: Composite (a white filling) is the preferred filling material here at Chapel Hill Dental. We like it best because of its natural appearance. In fact, it would be very hard for anyone to tell that you have a composite filling.
Amalgam: For their part, amalgam fillings are made up of a combination of metals (mercury, silver, copper, tin). They are strong and long-lasting, but due to their silvery colour we generally only recommend them for your back teeth.
The Filling Appointment: Step-By-Step
1. First off, we'll go through the treatment plan with you at the outset of the appointment and answer any questions you may have.
2. Next, your dentist will take a look at the cavity that's to be filled and determine whether or not you'll need a local anesthetic to desensitize the area. Freezing is recommended for bigger cavities or for teeth that are already sensitive.
3. Now it's time to get drilling! To start, we will want to drill out any decay found inside the tooth. We wouldn't want to fill up a hole that has decay at the bottom, because that would surely lead to more problems down the road.
4. A cleaning solution (we call it our "blue shampoo") is then applied to the cavity to both clean and etch the inside of the tooth. Our filling materials stick a lot better to the enamel if the tooth has been etched beforehand.
5. A dab of desensitizing liquid gets applied to your tooth before placing the filling, to minimize the chances that you'll experience post-op sensitivity.
6. The inside of the tooth is then coated with a bonding agent (a fancy word for adhesive), and a curing light activates the agent, readying the cavity for the filling material.
7. What we like to do at Chapel Hill Dental is apply the filling material in increments, with additional rounds of curing between each increment. We find that this makes for stronger fillings.
8. Lastly, your dentist will polish the newly restored tooth and check that your bite aligns properly. We can always make a few quick adjustments if you feel that your bite is off. And that's it, your tooth has been restored to its original shape!