Since 92% of adults have cavities and 42% of children get cavities in their baby teeth, it’s clear that most people can’t avoid dental fillings. When Dr. Beatrice Deca fills a cavity, she uses tooth-colored fillings whenever possible so that you can maintain dental health and a beautiful smile. If you have any questions about fillings or it’s time for a dental checkup, call her office, Deca Dentistry in Gresham, Oregon, or schedule an appointment online.
Most people think of a filling as something that’s used to fill in a cavity. Of course, that’s true – that’s exactly what a filling does – but it achieves much more than that. Fillings restore the strength and function of your tooth. They also prevent ongoing tooth decay that may lead to severe pain and damage that requires tooth removal.
Baby teeth also need dental fillings when they’re decayed. While fillings serve the essential job of preventing pain, baby teeth must be preserved to create a path for permanent teeth and to prevent a misalignment such as an overbite from developing.
Dr. Deca explains the different kinds of fillings and then works with you to determine which one is best for your dental needs. She prefers to use tooth-colored fillings so that you’re happy with your appearance after a decayed tooth is restored back to health.
Tooth-colored fillings, or composite fillings, are made from resins that are mixed at the time of your dental appointment and matched to the color of your natural teeth. They last up to 10 years, but they can become stained or chipped.
Composite fillings may not be the best choice if you need a large filling. Dr. Deca may consider other materials such as:
Dr. Deca ensures your comfort with a local anesthetic, if necessary, then prepares your tooth by removing all of the decay or damage with a drill or laser. After eliminating all decay, the area is shaped to accommodate the type of filling being used.
A liner may be used to protect the tooth’s pulp; then the filling is placed on top of the liner. Otherwise, it goes directly into the prepared area. A composite filling is hardened using a bonding light.
Fillings can break or fall out due to normal wear-and-tear, but you’ll get the longest life with routine brushing, flossing, and regular dental checkups. Grinding or clenching teeth and bacteria that invade through the gum or surrounding tooth commonly lead to failed fillings.