Dental fillings are important tools that help us repair a tooth after it has been damaged by decay or injury, such as a fracture. They are important because in order to stop the spread of the decay and repair the tooth, we have to remove the damaged portion of the tooth – this then creates what is commonly referred to as a cavity. In order to stabilize the tooth and ensure it is able to function properly, that cavity needs to be filled.
Westgrove Dental’s prosthodontists fill cavities every day and help restore patient’s smiles to optimal health. We most commonly use composite fillings, which are made of a tooth colored resin.
What are composite fillings made from?
Composite resin is made of a mixture of plastic and glass. It is made to blend in seamlessly with the color of your natural teeth.
How will my prosthodontist fill my cavity?
We begin by first matching the color of the composite resin to your natural teeth. Once we have a color match, we begin working on the affected tooth. All decay must be removed, so we numb the area using a local anesthetic prior to beginning. Once the decay is removed, the tooth is cleaned, dried, and prepped for the composite filling. The tooth gets bonded and etched to provide an ideal surface for the resin to attach. Then, we work to carefully layer the resin in the cavity, letting each layer set prior to beginning a new layer. Once the cavity is filled, we will carefully shape, contour and polish the resin to ensure a proper bite.
How long will my filling last?
With proper care, your composite resin filling can last for up to 10 years. There are certain factors that can affect its lifespan, including:
- The size of the filling – small fillings have a longer lifespan that large cavities
- The location of the filling – back molars undergo a lot of pressure each day, so the forces of biting, chewing, and clenching the teeth can shorten the lifespan
- The food and drink you consume – Acidic and sugary foods can wear down the enamel faster and shorten the lifespan of your filling
- Your oral hygiene routine – if you take proper care of your smile, you can ensure the longest life for your filling
Fillings can improve the aesthetics of your smile while also protecting your tooth against further decay and damage. Our prosthodontists use the highest-quality materials to ensure durability, strength and comfort. If you have minor decay or structural issues, a filling may be the best option for you to ensure the health and stability of your tooth.