Composite Tooth Filling
Palo Alto, CA
Are you looking to repair your broken or cracked teeth? Habits such as tooth grinding and nail-biting can take their toll on your dental health in the long run. However, our highly skilled professionals, our doctors and Dr. Sharma, here at Palo Alto Oral Health can repair and restore your teeth again.
What Is a Dental Filling?
When your teeth fall prey to cavities or decay, the dentist removes the affected teeth and fills the space with a filling material. A tooth filling comes in a variety of materials. However, based on your circumstances, your dentist chooses what would serve your needs best.
Types of Filling Materials
Thanks to research and technological advancements in dentistry, there are many dental filling materials available today. Among the most sought-after ones are porcelain, gold, silver amalgam, composite resin, and plastic.
However, determining a suitable filling material for you depends on several factors. Some of them include the extent and location of the decay, the cost of filling material, and your dentist's suggestion.
Gold fillings are a lot more durable than their counterparts. With exceptional strength and a life of over 10 to 15 years, these fillings are a popular choice among people.
However, they require more office visits and are also pricier. Furthermore, patients may or may not like the metal-colored filling that doesn't mesh well with the rest of their teeth.
Like gold fillings, silver fillings are also durable and can last for as long as 10 to 15 years. However, making space for them may require the destruction of more tooth structures.
Furthermore, aesthetics aren't the strongest pursuit of these fillings. They can fall prey to fractures and cracks if exposed to too much contraction and expansion in your mouth.
While silver fillings are made of mercury and silver tin, they tend to be more black or dark gray than they are silver. This makes them noticeably visible, and they could more appropriately be referred to as black fillings.
Tooth-colored fillings, or composites, can easily be matched to the color of your existing teeth, making them a relatively popular option against silver fillings. Well suited for the visible parts of your teeth, they also bond to your tooth structure mechanically and provide additional support.
However, they may lack durability and wear out sooner than silver fillings. Furthermore, they may take longer to place and may also require additional visits to the dental office.
Porcelain fillings are often custom-made before your dentist places them into your mouth. Unlike a porcelain crown, they are smaller and help maintain the natural tooth structure. On the plus side, they are resistant to staining and cracking. Additionally, they are also the closest to the natural appearance of your teeth.
However, they may not be able to repair chipped teeth or other minor problems. Since they are custom-made, it may take a while for the inlays and onlays to be ready, which could pose problems if you require an urgent solution.
Do Dentists Still Use Silver Fillings?
Dentists have used silver fillings for more than a century to fix dental issues. However, with the emergence of different alternatives, it is only reasonable to question whether they still use them.
The answer is yes, they do. Based on different factors such as cost, appearance, and personal preferences, many dentists still use them for posterior teeth. In fact, they are usually used in spaces where bleeding and saliva can contaminate your white restorations.
Furthermore, they can also use these fillings as foundation fillings before fitting a crown. The final crown color may appear slightly discolored, though.
How Long Does a Filling Take?
Since it's a simple procedure, it lasts only about an hour. However, the duration can vary based on the cavities that need to be filled. If there are more cavities, your dentist may suggest coming back in for an additional visit.
It does take some time for your filling to be fully set. If you eat hard or sticky food items, the new filling can be dislodged, increasing the duration of your entire treatment.
The more severe the cavity, the longer it takes. However, it typically shouldn't take longer than an hour for the dentist to complete a filling.
How to Maintain Your Teeth with Fillings
Good oral hygiene will always top the list when it comes to caring for your teeth. Maintaining fillings also requires you to visit your dentist for regular cleanings.
Additionally, you want to stick to fluoride toothpaste for brushing and an antibacterial mouthwash (one that is based on your dentist's recommendation), as well as continuing to floss.
You also want to avoid eating hard and sticky food items as they may affect the filling. Avoid any activities that may lead to your filling cracking. It is also important to make your dentist aware of any problems you may encounter after the filling session.
If there is any form of leaking or cracking, they may assess the situation by taking x-rays. All in all, allow your teeth to rest for a while after you've undergone a filling session.
Constant pressure from clenching, grinding, or chewing can cause tooth fillings to crack, chip, or wear away. It can be hard to tell when a filling is wearing down, which is why your dentist may recommend coming in for follow-up sessions.
Learn More About Dental Fillings
Dental fillings can serve you in several ways. They can take away from the discomfort you face with chipped or decayed teeth and are the least time-consuming among other dental services, and require minimal maintenance.
However, understanding whether you're a good candidate for the procedure is equally important. Our professionals at Palo Alto Oral Health make sure to guide you through the process beforehand. From the duration to the right type of filling, we will help you utilize your budget effectively. Give us a call at (650) 321-9693 today to schedule your consultation!