Fillings are the most common type of dental restorative procedure. At Amir Sanjabi, DDS, we are experienced in performing dental filling treatments to restore your smile.
When Do You Need A Filling?
A dental filling is used to fix decayed or cracked tooth surfaces and cavities. At Amir Sanjabi, DDS, we will inspect the surfaces of each tooth during your annual or biannual checkup. Any tooth that looks unusual or damaged will be checked with special tools. We may also order an x-ray of a section of your mouth and recommend a dental filling or other treatments, based on the extent of the damage.
Materials Used For Fillings
Fillings can be created with different materials:
Gold fillings are extremely durable, do not erode and can last for over 20 years, or even a lifetime, if given proper dental care. It is also very rare for people to be allergic to gold; however, gold fillings are, naturally, very expensive, and so, not very common. They also require more than one visit to the dentist for properly settling them in.
Amalgam is an alloy of silver, mercury, zinc, and copper and its fillings are very strong and durable. Amalgam fillings are not as expensive as gold and can last over 15 years. These fillings are perfect for repairing cavities in your molars. However, they are very easily noticeable when a person laughs and are not aesthetically pleasing.
Composite resins contain a mixture of resin, plastic or quartz material and can be matched to the exact color of your teeth. The pulpy material of the filling is placed inside the cavity, where it hardens with the help of a “curing” light. Composites are not as durable as silver amalgam or gold and may become stained over time. However, they are a popular choice for small-to-moderate repairs as they are aesthetically pleasing.
Ceramic or porcelain fillings are tooth-colored, very durable and are much more resistant to stains, unlike composite fillings. A downside of ceramic fillings is that they are more brittle than composite fillings, and hence, need to be larger so that they don’t break easily. This means the area in the tooth must be made larger to easily accommodate the ceramic filling.
These fillings are made with a mixture of glass and acrylic and release fluoride, which can help prevent further decay. These fillings are not very durable and can last only up to five years. That’s why they are a good choice for children, whose teeth are still changing. Unlike composite fillings, their color also does not exactly match with natural teeth.
Dental Filling Procedure
Your dental filling treatment shouldn’t take more than an hour. For the procedure, Amir Sanjabi, DDS will numb your gum and surrounding area with a local anesthetic. Once the area is numb, a drill, laser or air abrasion will be used to remove the decayed part of the teeth. The dentist will then prepare the space by cleaning away all debris and bacteria. If the decay is quite close to the root, we may first place a resin or glass ionomer liner to protect the nerve from damage during the procedure. Once the tooth is packed with the filling, we will finish and polish it.
Indirect fillings are similar to composite fillings, except that they are made in a dental lab and require two visits. These fillings are considered when a significant amount of tooth structure is eroded but not so damaged that it needs a crown.
There are two types of indirect fillings:
Inlays are similar to a filling, but their entire bulk lies on the pits and fissures of a tooth that encompass the tooth’s chewing surface between two cusps.
An onlay covers one or more cusps, which is why they are also known as partial crowns.
Both inlays and onlays are much more durable than regular fillings and can last for over 30 years. They also weaken the tooth’s structure to a much lesser extent that regular fillings.
Over time, constant pressure from your teeth can cause your tooth filling to wear away. Even though you may not realize that your filling is eroding, our dentists at Amir Sanjabi, DDS can identify it during a routine oral checkup. That is why it is important never to miss your appointment. To schedule an appointment, call us at (562) 287-8016.