While we do everything we can to help patients fortify their tooth enamel to prevent tooth decay and cavities, dental caries can sometimes still develop for various reasons. If we detect signs of significant tooth decay or dental caries during your appointment or if you experience symptoms of a cavity, such as sensitivity or a dark spot on your tooth, our dentists can arrest the decay and restore your tooth with a dental filling.
What Is a Dental Filling?
A dental filling is the most common treatment for dental caries (also called dental cavities) that develop as a result of tooth decay. Dental fillings are composed of different materials, which can vary based on the patient’s needs and treatment preferences.
Types of Dental Fillings
Tooth-Colored, Composite Resin Fillings
Fillings made of a type of plastic (composite resin) are the most popular type of dental filling used in modern dentistry thanks to their quick and simple application process, versatility, and natural look that blends in with the surrounding teeth.
Silver Amalgam Fillings
Silver amalgam used to be the most common material used for dental fillings. These fillings were silver-colored and not as long-lasting as the composite resin fillings we use today.
If you have silver amalgam or other metal dental fillings in your mouth, our dentists can ensure they are still intact or replace them with a more secure and aesthetically pleasing dental restoration.
Permanent vs. Temporary Fillings
In terms of treatments for cavities, most dental fillings are permanent. Some fillings are applied to protect a tooth between treatment stages, such as if a tooth is set to receive a dental crown. In these cases, the fillings are considered temporary, as they are only placed to protect the tooth in between treatment steps.
What To Expect During a Dental Filling
The process of having a tooth filled is fairly simple and straightforward. If needed, the treatment begins with the administration of a local anesthetic to ensure you experience no pain or discomfort during the appointment.
Our dentist then uses our quiet, non-invasive, and heat-free BIOLASE Waterlase dental laser to remove the decayed enamel and prepare the cavity for filling while sterilizing the treatment environment to prevent further decay.
Once the treatment area has been prepared, we fill the cavity with composite resin in a shade selected to match the patient’s natural tooth. We then shape, smooth, and cure the resin with a special light. When the resin has completely hardened, the treatment is complete.
Are There Any Alternative Treatments to Dental Fillings?
While dental fillings are the most commonly recommended course of treatment for addressing cavities, some alternative treatments can be quite effective.
For example, in cases where significant tooth decay is present, our dentist might recommend a dental inlay, an onlay, or a crown. These treatments are designed to address decay while restoring and strengthening more significantly damaged teeth.
Comprehensive General and Restorative Dentistry in Glen Ellyn, Illinois
We work with all of our patients to provide them with thorough preventive care and at-home oral hygiene recommendations to prevent tooth decay and cavities. If, however, you develop a cavity despite your best efforts, we recommend treating it as soon as possible to arrest the decay and prevent further, more complicated damage from occurring.
To learn more about protecting your teeth from tooth decay or to request an appointment with one of our experienced dentists, we welcome you to contact Glen Ellyn Dentistry at 630-942-0727 today.
Get Started Today!
We look forward to welcoming new patients into our office and seeing our existing patients again. To request an appointment, we welcome you to contact our office at 630-942-0727 or complete the appointment request form on our website.