Dental Restoration or Dental Fillings

Dental fillings, also known as dental restoration, is a common procedure that many people have acquired at least once in their lives. A dental filling is a type of restorative dentistry treatment used to repair minimal tooth fractures, tooth decay or otherwise damaged surfaces of the teeth. Filling materials, which include composite, porcelain and silver amalgam, may be used to even out tooth surfaces for better biting or chewing.

Enamel loss is a common component of tooth decay, and may result in tooth sensitivity. In many cases, sensitivity caused by enamel loss will be significantly improved or completely eliminated once an appropriate dental filling material is placed. But in some cases, depending on the extent of tooth decay or damage, the affected tooth may require additional or alternative procedures, including:

  • Dental Crowns: Teeth requiring more support than offered by a traditional filling may require dental crown.
  • Dental Implants & Dental Bridges: Irreparable tooth damage requiring tooth extraction may require an implant or bridge.
  • Root Canals (perhaps along with antibiotic treatment): Infected, abscessed or nerve damaged teeth may require a root canal procedure.

Consultation and Treatment Planning

One of the more common oral health issues discovered during scheduled cleanings and exams is decay. Your dentist will examine suspect teeth using a dental probe, as well as take an X-ray to determine the extent and exact location of the cavity and decay.

Once it is determined that a filling is needed, your dentist will advise you of your options for filling and sealing the cavity to prevent further decay and damage to the tooth. Based on your medical history, location of the cavity, esthetic needs, biting force, durability, cost, number of visits necessary and your preference, your dentist will determine your best filling option, whether that be direct composite bonding, amalgam (silver), gold or inlays/onlays created in a dental laboratory, or using in-office CAD/CAM equipment.

Your dentist may be able to complete your filling treatment immediately. The area surrounding the affected tooth will be anesthetized (numbed) using a local anesthetic, and if necessary, you also may receive a form of sedation dentistry to ensure your comfort. Keep in mind that if you undergo sedation dentistry, you will not be able to drive yourself after the procedure.

The Procedure

The dentist begins the procedure by preparing the tooth and necessary surrounding areas in order to restore the decay or damage. The decay or damage is removed with a dental hand-piece (aka drill) or laser, and the area is cleansed to remove bacteria or debris before the restoration is completed.