What are dental fillings?
Dental fillings are used to treat caries or cavities, which are tiny holes that develop in the teeth due to a buildup of harmful oral bacteria on dental surfaces. A dental filling is used to fill in the cavity and prevent the hole from getting larger. Fillings prevent the spread of decay and provide stability to teeth that may have become weakened or damaged by the presence of cavities. In many cases, a dental filling will alleviate pain caused by an existing cavity and restore the tooth’s full chewing function. Filling in cavities with natural-looking dental fillings also keeps your teeth and smile looking their best.
Why do cavities need to be filled?
Caries is a condition that produces cavities, or small holes that eat away at the teeth. The formation and spread of cavities may also cause teeth to become structurally weak, causing pain and difficulty when chewing. Filling in cavities promptly is the best way to prevent the spread of tooth decay and protect the tooth from further damage, while also protecting neighboring teeth. If a cavity is left unattended, it may spread and weaken the entire tooth, which may continue to decay, and eventually become loose and fall out. Untreated, tooth decay can also spread to neighboring teeth.
When cavities go untreated, tooth decay may also spread to the underlying bone tissue, causing even more serious problems such as:
- Bleeding gums
- Gum disease
- Periodontal disease
All of these problems may end up requiring more complex and expensive dental treatments. Once a tooth has become damaged by caries, it becomes even more susceptible to further decay, and the gums and connective tissue, as well as the underlying bone tissue, may be adversely affected.
By treating tooth decay promptly and controlling the spread of caries, you can keep your teeth healthy and strong, protect them from further damage, and protect neighboring teeth.
What material are dental fillings made of?
Dental fillings today are made from various materials. For the past 150 years, standard silver amalgam fillings have been used by dentists all over the world on millions of patients. Silver amalgam fillings are made of mercury combined with silver, tin, zinc, and copper. Today, many dentists are using newer materials such as porcelain or hard plastic that look more natural. At Dentistry of West Bend, most of the dental fillings we use are composite resin fillings that resemble natural tooth enamel.
Are dental fillings painful?
Our team is committed to making every treatment painless and comfortable for our patients. We provide various types of medication to control any discomfort before each procedure, depending on each patient’s pain threshold and preferences. We also offer nitrous oxide to relax you during the procedure if you desire. While you may experience some soreness and irritation after the anesthesia wears off, our patients report that the actual procedure is painless. You may take over-the-counter pain medication to relieve any soreness or tenderness that remains following the treatment.