Dental Fillings: Basics You Need to Know
Dental fillings. They’re one of the most commonly known dental treatments, and perhaps, the least understood. Most of us know dental fillings as the go-to treatment for damage caused to teeth by cavities. Fillings repair the damage and prevent further problems, but also leave behind unsightly evidence, usually silver areas on the surface of teeth that can be seen when the patient opens their mouth wide.
This silver material was the only option for most dentists decades ago, when you might have gotten fillings originally as a child. This material, silver amalgam is still in use today because it’s such a reliable, resistant and safe material to use intraorally. But is it the only material available for use? Nope! Today we have many materials to use in dental fillings. One particularly popular material are tooth-colored composite resin materials. These are the same color as patients’ teeth and do not leave behind unsightly and obvious indications that the patient has had dental work done. Despite these concerns, dental fillings are still the best method of treatment for cavities.
So why do we need fillings anyway? Well, this treatment’s effectiveness lies in the type of damage cavities inflict on teeth. Cavities are started by a small hole, or thinness of the existing enamel on the surface of the tooth caused by genetic predisposition to weaker enamel, diet or brushing habits. If this thinness in the enamel isn’t stopped, the damage progresses to the interior of the tooth, wear gradually a hole, or cavity, is formed. Once there is a bone-fide cavity, a patient is usually aware because the newly exposed root inside of the tooth is full of nerves that react with pain when food particles work their way into the cavity.
To stop the pain, save the structure of the tooth and prevent further damage from the cavity, Dr. Reddy will employ a dental filling. Dr. Reddy will start by thoroughly cleaning the effected area of the cavity, and making sure that all signs of decay are removed. If tooth decay is still present, the structure of the tooth may still be compromised and the filling may not work and even cause further problems down the road. At this point, the tooth is usually ready for the filling. Dr. Reddy will apply the filling, finish, and polish it. If you’re using a tooth-colored filling, extra steps must be taken to thoroughly ‘set’ the material in layers using a special light.
Of course, Dr. Reddy and the staff at Creative Dentistry of Atlanta in Sandy Springs will explain this entire process to you beforehand to make sure you’re comfortable, and help you decide on a filling material that’s best for you. Our experienced staff will do our absolute best to ensure that your experience is comfortable and pain-free. All filling procedures use anesthetics to numb the affected area to give you a painless experience.
After the procedure, Dr. Reddy will give you further steps and advice on how to care for your new fillings and any precautions you will need to take immediately following the filling procedure to help the affected area heal. Taking care of our patients is our priority at Creative Dentistry of Atlanta, so we go above and beyond to make sure all patients are happy, healthy and comfortable!