Fillings are the most basic and frequently performed of all dental restorations. In fact, most adults have fillings. The main reason we get them is because we get cavities. We get fillings throughout our adult life, not only because we have new cavities, but also because we have acquired small cracks or chips that are not big enough to require a crown or because we have damaged an old filling and need to replace it.
What Is a Filling?
A filling is any number of substances used to replace the decayed or damaged portion of an otherwise good tooth. In our practice, we use composite resin, a tooth-colored mixture of plastic and glass.
Composite offers several advantages over older gold and silver amalgams:
- You don’t need to worry about flashing a mouthful of silver every time you laugh because it matches the color of your teeth.
- It can prevent breakage and insulate your tooth from drastic temperature changes because it bonds to the tooth and supports the remaining tooth structure.
- It requires less removal of the tooth’s structure before filling.
- It’s kinder to surrounding tissue than gold or silver amalgams.
- Unlike silver amalgams, it contains no mercury.
Cavities Are the Main Culprit
Your mouth is naturally full of things that cause cavities. Even if you brush and floss properly and see your hygienist regularly, lifestyle and genetics might still lead you to have them. To make matters worse, certain foods and beverages actually feed the cavity-causing bacteria. If you don’t want cavities, stay away from foods and beverages that contain sugar and acid, such as diet sodas.
Other Reasons You Made Need a Filling
In addition to repairing cavities, we use fillings to repair several other kinds of minor tooth damage:
- Cavities in old fillings: As fillings age, they may wear, erode or shift and let in bacteria that cause a new cavity to form under the old filling.
- Abrasion and excessive wear that often leads to sensitivity when brushing and eating.
- Chips and cracks: These can be caused by crunching too hard on an un-popped popcorn kernel, habitual grinding of your teeth or an accident. The result is an opening for bacteria to enter your tooth.
How Do You Know If You Need a Filling?
Only a professional dental exam can tell you this. During your regular cleaning appointment, your hygienist and dentist will examine your mouth fully and advise you of any areas causing concern. If you’re experiencing tooth pain now, don’t wait. Call us today for an appointment.