A Simple Guide To Dental Fillings

  • June 1, 2017

What can we say about cavities? Nobody wants them, yet more than 90 percent of Americans will get at least one.

You may have already had a cavity. If you haven’t, keep doing what you can to prevent it, but also be prepared to act if you should ever get one.

And if you live in or near Reading, MA, our dentist office can help you restore your tooth and your smile with our tooth-colored dental fillings.

Fillings may be the simplest type of restorative dentistry, which is why we think it’s appropriate to present our simple guide to dental fillings as today’s post.

If you have more questions or you could use a filling, make an appointment with First Dental Associates soon. Call 781-435-7290 or contact us online.

Reasons To Get A Dental Filling

Let’s start with the most obvious reason. You either have a cavity, or you have an old filling that needs to be replaced.

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that live inside your mouth. It’s unlikely that you’ll completely get rid of this bacteria, but you can keep it under control. That’s why the American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day, flossing every day, and visiting your family dentist for regular cleanings and exams.

Given an opportunity, bacteria will form plaque, a sticky film that clings to your teeth. This also allows bacteria to eat into your tooth, which leads to cavities.

When these cavities form, our dentist office can remove the decay and fill the hole in your tooth with a dental filling. Your filling’s primary purposes are to restore the function of your tooth and to protect against further decay.

The Different Kinds Of Dental Fillings

Dental fillings have been around for thousands of years. Here are the three kinds you are likely to find today:

◼ Gold

Gold has been used to repair for nearly as long as we are aware that people have been repairing teeth. We know this from archeological finds and historical records.

From a practical standpoint, gold can be effective at restoring the function of your teeth. From a cosmetic standpoint, it may be more of a distraction, however.

◼ Amalgam

Amalgam fillings are made with a blend of different kinds of metals. Modern amalgam fillings are generally made by mixing mercury with one or more other metals, including copper, silver, and tin.

Like gold fillings, amalgam fillings are durable, and they provide protection. Their metallic appearance, however, can be a drawback from a cosmetic standpoint.

★ Tooth-colored

At First Dental Associates, we offer tooth-colored fillings for our patients. These fillings are made with a composite resin. After the resin is applied, it can be cured so that it hardens.

This protects your tooth and restores its function much like gold or amalgam fillings.

The big advantage of this is that the resin can be shaded to match the color of your teeth. These fillings blend in with the rest of your smile, rather than standing out like a sore thumb.

When To Replace Your Dental Fillings

Modern dentistry has come a long way, but no one yet has developed a permanent filling. No matter that kind of filling you have, some day it will need to be replaced.

If you make regular visits to our dentist office in Reading, MA, our dental professionals will keep an eye on the condition of your fillings, and we can advise you on when your fillings may be at the end of their service to you.

Fillings can become chipped or cracked. Depending on the location and size of these chips and cracks, they may expose part of your tooth that can’t be cleaned with a toothbrush. That’s great for bacteria but bad for your tooth.

Similar problems can develop from dental fillings that have become worn down over time.

In some cases, dental fillings can begin to separate from your teeth. If you wait too long, those fillings can fall out. It’s pretty easy to understand why a filling that is loose or falls out isn’t doing much good for your tooth.

We’ll gladly replace your dental filling when it’s needed.

Make Your Next Dental Appointment

It would be great if you never needed a dental filling. That’s more likely if you maintain a good oral hygiene routine at home, eat healthily, and make regular appointments for cleanings and exams at First Dental Associates.

To schedule an appointment for a filling or for preventive care, contact us online or call 781-435-7290.