Dental fillings are small dental restorations that repair teeth affected by cavities. They close the holes left by tooth decay, restoring normal appearance, health and function to the teeth. Older fillings were made from metal materials, but nowadays most fillings that Dr. Lance Porter uses are crafted from tooth-colored, natural-looking materials like composite resin or porcelain.
When Is a Dental Filling Necessary?
Fillings help to protect teeth with cavities from developing more serious problems down the line. Fillings can also help repair teeth with minor damage like fractures or cracks, or teeth that have become extremely worn from chronic bruxism (i.e., teeth grinding or clenching).
Teeth with greater amounts of decay or damage usually require a crown, which completely covers the entire exterior of a tooth and protects it from further damage.
How Do You Know If You Need a Filling?
There is no simple way to know that you need a filling; only Dr. Porter can determine that, after an in-depth examination. However, some signs or symptoms that may suggest you should see Dr. Porter for an evaluation include the following:
- Toothache (either throbbing or sharp pain)
- Tooth sensitivity when eating or brushing
- A visible hole in the tooth
- A rough or jagged feeling when you run your tongue over the tooth
If Dr. Porter determines you need a filling, he will outline your options in materials and recommend what he feels is best based on factors such as the location of the tooth in your mouth and the size of the area that needs to be restored.
Tooth-Colored Filling Procedure Details
Most fillings can be placed during a single office visit. Numbing medication is administered so you do not feel any pain or discomfort during the procedure.
Dr. Porter begins by preparing the tooth receiving the filling. He removes dental decay or damaged enamel with a dental handpiece. Then, he cleans the entire tooth area and dries it. A primer and bonding agent are placed on the tooth. Next, Dr. Porter applies the composite fillings material directly to the tooth, shaping and sculpting it as he works to give the tooth a natural shape and appearance. With a curing light, he hardens the filling material.
After placing the filling, Dr. Porter checks it against the bite to make sure the upper and lower teeth bite together properly and there is no unevenness. To finish, Dr. Porter polishes the new filling so it looks translucent like natural tooth enamel.
How To Ensure Best Results
You can care for fillings just as you would natural teeth. You should brush and floss your filling every day and have it examined by Dr. Porter at least every six months to check its integrity.
How to Schedule a Composite Filling Procedure
If you would like to learn more about tooth-colored fillings as well as other types of fillings, Dr. Porter and our team are here to help. Please schedule an appointment with us by calling or sending us an email today. We look forward to helping you recapture a beautiful smile and optimal oral health!