PREPARING THE TOOTH FOR FILLINGBefore filling a tooth, your dentist examines it and takes x-rays to determine the condition of the tooth and the exact location of the damage. After numbing the area with a local anesthetic, the dentist uses a drill, laser or air abrasion tool to remove the damaged portions of the tooth. The next step is to prepare the tooth for filling by cleaning out any harmful bacteria and/or debris.
TEMPORARY FILLINGSSuppose you have a painful tooth, but want to put off getting a filling because of time or money constraints. In that case, our dentist can put in a temporary filling to protect your tooth root and gums while relieving the immediate pain. Temporary fillings are used for protection between dental visits when more than one separate appointment is required for a more complex treatment such as a root canal and filling.
CHOOSING A FILLING MATERIALYour dentist will help you decide what type of filling you need and want for each tooth. If you need to have more than one tooth filled, you might opt to have a tooth-colored or gold filling in the front and silver fillings in the back of your mouth.
CAST GOLD FILLINGSMany people like the look of gold fillings. However, the value of using gold for fillings goes beyond appearance preferences. Gold fillings do not corrode and can last 10 or 15 years, or even longer. They are strong enough to withstand the force of chewing.
TOOTH-COLORED FILLINGSThe three types of tooth-colored fillings are composite, ceramic and glass ionomer fillings. Ceramic fillingscan last 15 years or longer. Glass ionomer fillings are a great option for children because they release fluoride, but they only last 5 to 7 years. Composite fillings are the most common of the tooth-colored fillings. These fillings usually only last about 5 years or less. Yet, they are a versatile treatment for many dental problems. Many people also prefer the appearance of these natural-looking fillings. Be aware that if you have a tooth-colored composite filling, your visit will probably be longer than with silver fillings.
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