How are Dental Fillings Placed?

Happy mother and daughterBefore fillings, people still had to deal with tooth decay. In extreme cases, infected teeth would be pulled or just fall out. The body is resilient, but it cannot fix holes in teeth. Obviously that extremity has an answer now—several answers in fact, but dental fillings are still the most common. Fillings take the place of decay, and fortify tooth structure and function.

Your filling procedure will begin with a simple anesthetic, after which our expert in dental fillings in Northridge will remove all the decayed area of the tooth. This may take some probing to make sure, which is why the dentist anesthetizes the affected area. The primary hardware in dental fillings is a good old-fashioned dental drill, the distinct sound of which is often cited as a source of dental phobia. If you have drill issues, ask your dentist about sedation options.

Depending on where the filling is, the dentist may use a bite block to hold your mouth open, or a rubber dam to make sure the area stays dry.

Fillings were once either gold or silver. Most patients now prefer either amalgam fillings or tooth-colored composite, which are better aesthetically.

For more about the process of dental fillings, talk to your Northridge dentists.

Options in Dental Fillings

Happy patient

Cavities in teeth must be filled. Fillings can restore the tooth’s size and shape and protect the damaged part of the tooth from further decay. Several options for dental fillings are available, and our Torrance cosmetic dentist can help you decide on the best one for your smile.

The most common dental filling options include:

1. Composite resin fillings
Composite resin is a tooth-colored material that is made of glass or quartz mixed with other materials. These fillings bond chemically with the tooth’s structure and are capable of withstanding significant bite forces.

2. Amalgam fillings
Amalgam fillings, which are sometimes called silver fillings, have been used for many years to restore teeth. Amalgam is a blend of silver, tin, copper, and mercury. It is strong and durable, though not necessarily aesthetic.

3. Gold fillings
Gold fillings have been used for hundreds of years and are known for their durability, but they are also quite noticeable, much like amalgam fillings.

Fillings are usually placed in a single visit, and require no special care beyond good dental hygiene. Call our expert in dental fillings in Torrance today to find out more about dental fillings or to schedule your appointment with our team.

Process for Getting Dental Fillings

Beautiful caucasian naked woman lying on a table.

There are three steps to getting a filling on a tooth that is suffering from decay. The process takes place over the course of just one appointment, which can last between twenty minutes to an hour.


Step One – Preparation

Our expert in dental fillings in Los Angeles will apply a numbing gel and local antiesthetic to the area. They will also likely place a rubber dam over your mouth and around your teeth to isolate the area and create a barrier. If not provided, you can ask for a bite block, which is a rubber device that helps patients keep their mouth open during the procedure with less stress on the jaw.


Step Two – Removing decay

Several tools will be used to remove the portion of your tooth that has been affected by the decay. These tools include a high-speed hand piece and a high-volume suction to eliminate an initial large portion of decay. A slow-speed hand piece is then used to refine the area, and remove any remaining areas of decay. Then several smaller hand instruments will be employed to continue refinement. And air and water unit is used throughout the process, to alternately wet and dry the tooth.


Step Three – Filling

The empty, now decay-free areas will next be replaced with either an amalgam or composite filling. The process required for the two materials differs slightly, but both will be formed and smoothed to complete the shape of your tooth. A blue light will then be used to harden the resin in a process called “curing”. You will be asked to bite down on a piece of carbon paper to check that your crown is shaped appropriately.

For more information, patients can look into smile makeover before and after pictures, or contact our Los Angeles dental fillings expert.

Dental Fillings and Their Types

Gorgeous young woman with necklace smiling

If the dentist finds a cavity during your routine checkup, he or she will remove the decay and restore the tooth with a dental filling. There are several types of dental fillings to choose from.

Gold fillings are considered to be one of the strongest fillings in terms of being able to withstand chewing forces. Due to their durability, they often last fifteen years or more. Gold is the most expensive type of filling, though, and some people do not care for their high level of visibility.

Silver amalgam fillings are also considered to have a high level of strength and durability. They are typically the cheapest type of filling, and can last fifteen years or more. These fillings contain mercury, and though they have been proven to be safe, many people try to avoid these fillings for this reason. They are also considered to be highly visible, and thus undesirable.

Composite fillings are made of a tooth-colored resin material, which makes them highly aesthetic. They can actually be made by our cosmetic dentists in North Hollywood to match the color of your natural teeth. While they are not considered to be as durable as gold and silver fillings, many people prefer them due to their superior aesthetics.

If you think you may have a cavity that needs to be treated, contact our expert in dental fillings in North Hollywood to schedule a consultation.

Why Should Amalgam Fillings be Removed?

Why Should Amalgam Fillings be Removed?Metal tooth fillings have been around for ages as an inexpensive material used to protect the teeth after decay removal. Unfortunately, it has come to light that the amalgam blend releases dangerous mercury vapor when broken down. Safe amalgam removal is necessary for patients that have been put at risk through the placement of this filler material.

Our Agoura Hills dentist is educated on the safety hazards of exposure to mercury, which includes breathing the vapor during removal. It is the most dangerous to children and pregnant women because of the sensitivity to the toxins. If exposed during an early age, there is a correlation with low IQ even if it is transmitted through breastfeeding to an infant.

Amalgam itself is a durable material, but it is highly detrimental to long-term oral care. As the filling contracts and expands, the teeth can crack or break away to make the remaining healthy area more vulnerable to problems. This is a major issue considering the amount of tooth that must be removed initially to place the amalgam.

A patient that does not fall into the groups considered most vulnerable are not in the clear when exposed to the neurotoxin. Amalgam fillings should not be considered a safe solution, and anyone that has them should seek timely removal.