Dr. Matthew L. Bridges at Chisholm Trail Smile Center in Duncan, OK places various types of dental fillings to treat tooth decay and keep your smile healthy.
Repair Damaged Teeth with Dental Fillings
Teeth damaged by decay can significantly compromise your oral health. If left untreated, tooth decay can spread quickly, leading to more extensive dental work or tooth loss. At Chisholm Trail Smile Center in Duncan, OK, Dr. Matthew L. Bridges can place dental fillings to repair and strengthen decayed teeth. One of the most common restorative treatments, a dental filling is a simple procedure that can help save your teeth and improve your oral health.
What is a Dental Filling?
A dental filling is a material used to fill in the areas of tooth structure that have been affected by decay. Fillings have been a fundamental treatment in contemporary dentistry for nearly two centuries. Earlier civilizations even used beeswax as an attempt to reinforce the tooth and prevent further damage. Today, fillings are made from an array of high-grade dental materials, ranging from metal to composite. With proper care, they are long-lasting and durable.
Symptoms of Tooth Decay
If you think you may have a cavity, it is important to have a dental examination as soon as possible. By diagnosing and treating decay early, you can prevent cavity-causing bacteria from spreading to your surrounding teeth. Some of the symptoms of tooth decay include:
Types of Dental Fillings
There are several types of dental fillings on the market. Each is used according to a patient’s needs and aesthetic desires. At Chisholm Trail Smile Center, we commonly use these two types of fillings:
Amalgam: Metallic in color, amalgam fillings are comprised of silver, zinc, copper, tin, and mercury. Amalgam fillings can endure strong chewing forces, and are long-lasting. The primary disadvantage is that metal fillings do not blend in with the surrounding teeth. For this reason, they are typically only used when restoring back teeth.
Composite Resin: Safe and effective, composite fillings are currently the most common type of filling placed. Because they can be precisely color-matched, they blend in nicely with your adjacent teeth for a natural-looking result. Many patients choose composite fillings over their amalgam counterparts because they are completely metal-free and biocompatible.
Receiving a Dental Filling
If Dr. Bridges determines you need a filling, not to worry. Receiving a dental filling is a simple and straightforward process, and can typically be completed in about one hour. Nitrous oxide can also be administered to ensure your comfort.
Anesthesia: To numb your teeth and gums, local anesthesia will be administered.
Removal of Decay: Before the filling can be placed, Dr. Bridges will first need to remove the decayed portions of your tooth. Using special dental instruments, he will clean out the affected areas and smooth out any rough edges.
Preparation: Once the decay is removed, dental etch will be placed. This is a slightly acidic solution that will prepare the tooth for the filling.
Filling: Carefully avoiding the adjacent teeth, Dr. Bridges will fill in the voids in your tooth structure with a dental filling material. He will then shape the filling and remove any excess.
Curing: Once the filling is placed, a special dental curing light will be used to harden the material, making it strong and resilient.
Adjustments: After the filling is cured, Dr. Bridges will carefully sculpt and shape your tooth. Checking your bite, he will make any necessary adjustments for proper function.