Why Choose Sierra Dental Care in Modesto for Fillings?
At Sierra Dental Care in Modesto, we don’t just treat you like another number. Our goal is to provide you with excellence in dentistry. Our extended hours mean that you don’t have to rush after work or after school to try to squeeze in your appointment. We pride ourselves on the personal care we offer our patients.
We treat everyone, from children to grandparents. Whether you need orthodontics, dental implants, or family dentistry, we have the staff, training, and technology to give you the care you need.
While we focus on making things convenient for you, this does not mean that we take a cookie-cutter approach to dentistry. Our staff will thoroughly assess your individual needs with the goal of providing you with the best course of treatment. Do you have questions about a recommendation you were given from another dentist? Come visit us. We offer free consultations and second opinions to ensure that everyone in your family receives the care they need and deserve.
Reasons for Getting Fillings
The primary reason for getting a dental filling is to replace the space that is left behind after the cavity is drilled, however, there are other reasons you may need them. Small holes in your teeth which may not cause discomfort or are not considered cavities potentially could start to accumulate bacteria from food particles that lead to tooth decay. This tooth decay would be a reason to get dental fillings. A fractured tooth may also require a dental filling. Dental fillings can also be used to fix discolored teeth and may be able to help after the gradual loss of a tooth structure.
How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?
It is understandable that you would be interested in knowing how long you can rely on your dental fillings to last before you will need to have the procedure repeated. Dental fillings are not made to last forever. However, depending on the material used for dental fillings, they can last between seven and 30 years.
There are several factors that will influence how long your dental fillings will last. These include the size of the cavity, the amount of wear and tear your dental fillings experience through use, and the material used for the fillings themselves. However, some fillings fail sooner than expected, whereas others can last up to twice as long.. Grinding your teeth (bruxism) can also shorten the lifespan of your fillings because this creates small cracks in your teeth and prematurely wears away the dental filling material.
You will know that you need to replace your dental filling if it is cracked, moves when you touch it, or completely falls out. The larger the cavity, the more likely it is that your dental filling will fall out. This is because there is a lot less natural material to hold the filling material in place. If something like this happens or if you are experiencing discomfort around an old dental filling, our experienced dental professionals at Sierra Dental Care in Modesto are happy to help you get your teeth looking and feeling great again.
Can Dental Fillings Damage Teeth?
Dental fillings may put adjoining teeth at risk for decay. Part of the problem could be trauma caused by the process of applying the initial dental filling. The situation is worse for individuals who do a poor job at protecting and caring for their oral health after having a dental procedure done.
It is important for dental professionals to be aware of the possibility of inadvertently damaging adjacent teeth when putting in dental fillings. They should pay close attention to the state of neighboring teeth during follow-up visits.
If adjoining teeth show signs of decay, additional restorative fillings may be the only option. However, if you get dental fillings, you can take steps to protect them by brushing twice a day, flossing regularly, using a fluoride mouthwash, and getting regular checkups.
How Do Dentists Remove Old Fillings?
During your routine dental cleaning appointment and exam, your dentist can check for weak spots in your dental fillings. In some cases, they will use X-rays to check for cracks or additional decay. If either of these factors are identified, your dentist may recommend replacing the filling.
What should you expect from a filling replacement procedure? It is basically the same procedure your dentist used when they put in the original filling. They will first need to remove the damaged filling and then replace it with a new material.
Amalgam fillings are a combination of metals that include mercury. Medical professionals learned that when amalgam fillings begin to deteriorate, the mercury can leak into the body, causing serious health issues. Replacing amalgam fillings can also expose patients to mercury vapor. Fortunately, professionals have pioneered techniques to remove mercury fillings in a safe way. The safe removal of amalgam begins by ensuring the circulation of fresh air in the treatment room. Patients are then covered in a protective drape to prevent mercury from coming in contact with their skin. The dentist and their assistant will use a saliva ejector and water spray. Instead of breaking the amalgam filling into smaller pieces, the dentist will attempt to cut away the filling in larger pieces. They will have the patient rinse their mouth with activated charcoal. These procedures have been designed to minimize the patient’s contact with the mercury in the filling. If the patient rinses their mouth with activated charcoal, it removes any lingering traces of mercury. Once amalgam fillings have been removed, new restorative fillings can be installed that contain no mercury. These are typically made from porcelain, gold, or silver.
If the patient has damaged fillings that are made up of porcelain, gold, or silver, the dentist will first administer a local anesthetic. Once the patient is numb, they will sterilize the tooth and then proceed to use a suction device to remove traces of the old filling. Next, the dentist will clean the area of debris in order to fill the tooth with a composite resin. Once that resin hardens, the dentist will file and remove the sharp edges.
How Many Fillings Do People Normally Have?
It is estimated that 175 million dental fillings are completed every single year in the United States. If this estimate is accurate, it means that there is at least one filling for every two U.S. citizens each year. This number is not limited to adults. Children, even those who just have their baby teeth, may develop cavities that require dental fillings.
Can Tooth Decay Continue after a Dental Filling?
Just because a tooth has been filled, this does not prevent tooth decay from forming afterward. Tooth decay begins outside of your teeth. Bacteria become plaque and adhere to your teeth. If you do not eliminate the plaque, it will turn into tartar, which will decay your teeth from the outside. That is why it is imperative that you brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once per day.
What Materials Are Dental Fillings Made From?
There are multiple types of fillings and it is up to you and your dentist which one works best for you.
Composite fillings are strong. While they lack the strength of amalgam fillings, they are tooth-colored and appear more natural. They are made from a powdered glass quartz, ceramic particles, or silica. These materials are mixed with a resin base. After the dental filling is applied, a powerful light is used to set the filling material.
Glass ionomer fillings chemically bond with the tooth. They also release fluoride, preventing future tooth decay. These fillings are not strong, but this material is typically only used on baby teeth or on non-biting surfaces.
Gold fillings are expensive and rare. Gold is a sturdy material that is resistant to corrosion. However, the expense of these fillings prevents some dentists from even offering it as an option.
Ceramic fillings are durable and attractive albeit more expensive. They are made of porcelain and can be tinted to match the color of your teeth. The only downside is that your dentist will need to remove a larger amount of your original tooth to produce a strong enough dental filling to withstand the pressure of biting due to ceramic being brittle.
What Are Indirect Fillings?
Indirect fillings are produced in a dental laboratory. They will be bonded to your tooth as a single piece, restoring the function and aesthetics of your tooth. Indirect fillings are typically made from porcelain or a unique type of durable composite. They are popular because they can be colored to match your tooth and last for a long time.
Indirect fillings require at least two appointments. During the first appointment, your tooth is anesthetized and numbed using local anesthetic. The cavity is cleaned and prepped for the filling. An impression is taken of the cavity and nearby teeth. This is sent to a laboratory that will manufacture the restoration based on the information provided by the dentist. It takes about two weeks to make the filling. In the interim, a temporary material is placed in the cavity.
During the second appointment, after anesthetizing and numbing the tooth, the temporary filling is removed and the cavity is cleaned. A specialized combination of bonding agents are used with a specialized cement compatible with the indirect filling material.
What Are Amalgam Fillings?
Silver amalgam fillings combine zinc, silver, copper, tin, and mercury. They are strong, affordable, and durable, lasting for 15 years or more. The downside is that they are not as attractive. With time, the amalgam may also contract or expand, damaging the host tooth. As mentioned above, there are some concerns about the presence of mercury in these dental fillings.