Dental fillings are a fairly common procedure for most dentists. There’s a pretty good chance that every adult will suffer from tooth decay at least once in their lives. Fillings help to take care of that issue. Dr. Melissa Elliott of Harford County Dentistry, a dentist in Bel Air, MD, highlights what you can expect while getting a dental filling.
When is a Dental Filling Needed?
Tooth decay can vary a lot in its severity. A traditional dental filling is typically used for the lesser forms of tooth decay. Mild to moderate cases of tooth decay can be treated with fillings. We can also replace any silver amalgam fillings with more modern composite fillings that blend in with the natural color of your teeth.
When tooth decay becomes more serious, an inlay or onlay may be needed. They’re used when tooth decay is more severe or present over a wide area. If the infection has spread into the dental pulp in the center of the tooth, a root canal may be needed. When this occurs, a dental crown is used to complete the procedure and strengthen the remaining tooth.
The Dental Filling Process
First, Dr. Elliott will do a full examination of the tooth in question. You may have come into the office due to pain in the tooth, or a spot may be noticed during a routine exam and dental x-rays. A further examination of the tooth can determine how severe the case is and which treatment option is best for your case of tooth decay.
If a filling is the best option, the process will move forward. The entire area around the tooth will be numbed with a local anesthetic. When you’re comfortable, a drill is used to get rid of the decayed areas. The area is fully cleaned to prepare it for the filling.
With composite fillings, the material we use is matched to the color of your teeth. This material is able to be directly bonded to the tooth and is able to expand with your natural teeth, so there’s a lower risk of cracks. Amalgam fillings also require the removal of some of the healthy structure of your tooth, but composite allows the dentist to only remove the decayed portion.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent dental problems for people of all ages. However, this is especially true for children. Regular pediatric dentistry is essential to keep their mouths decay-free. We can help by educating both parents and children on proper brushing techniques. There are also diet changes that can be made to reduce the chance of tooth decay.
In addition, there are very hard to reach places in the mouth, especially for children. Dental sealants can provide an extra layer of protection. They’re painted on the cusps of the molars and other hard to reach areas to further prevent tooth decay.
Your Bel Air, Maryland Dentist
Preventative care is essential in helping you to avoid tooth decay. Call us or schedule an appointment online.