Tooth Fillings

Lady seeking tooth fillings

The principles behind many of today’s most advanced dental treatments haven’t changed much over the years. The materials, technology, and techniques have just become significantly more advanced. For instance, when it comes to treating cavities, tooth fillings have long been the best way to save teeth. Today, however, the materials used to fill cavities and the technology employed to plan your treatment allow for a more lifelike, precise, and long-lasting restoration to help save teeth in the long run.

Cavities occur when the enamel of the teeth has eroded away, leaving the more sensitive layer beneath it, the dentin, exposed to the foods and beverages you consume. Since dentin is more sensitive many patients experience discomfort as an early warning sign of a cavity. Fortunately, if you are diagnosed with dental decay, like a cavity, your restorative dentist may be able to quickly address the issue and to restore your comfort and your confidence in your smile. For instance, tooth-colored dental fillings are beautiful restorations that can quickly improve your smile! Just make sure you seek treatment, quickly, when the cavity can still be treated promptly, in order to prevent worsening problems, such as a potential tooth infection. 

Cavities are incredibly common. In fact, some studies indicate that nearly 90 percent of adults will struggle with dental cavities. That said, they are preventable through proper dental hygiene and regular checkups and cleanings. If you do find yourself struggling with symptoms of a cavity, though, this is how your restorative dentist could help save your damaged tooth, and restore your overall oral health in the process.

Warnings that you may need a tooth filling

Sensitivity, especially to hot and cold foods, is often a symptom of a cavity. Discomfort while chewing or drinking is also clear indication of a dental problem. Other common symptoms include noticeable staining and discoloration, especially dark lines along the crevices of teeth, or even white patches on the surface of teeth, which could indicate the enamel has been compromised.

While not every person experiences noticeable changes to his or her smile, when struggling with a dental cavity, most patients do notice some warning signs or symptoms, letting them know they have a dental cavity. In general, if you experience any negative changes in your smile or dental comfort, it is best to schedule a dental appointment, as the teeth cannot repair themselves the way other parts of the body can.

If you experience these symptoms, in particular, you could likely be struggling with a dental cavity, which could require a dental filling, a dental crown or even root canal treatment.

  • Heightened sensitivity, especially to sweet foods, or hot or cold foods or beverages
  • Discoloration including grey lines or white patches, which could be the layer beneath the enamel becoming exposed

What Does a Filling Do?

Cavities occur when acidic erosion wears away the enamel of the teeth, exposing the layer beneath it, the dentin. The dentin is more sensitive than the teeth’s enamel, which is why many people experience discomfort when they’re struggling with cavities.

Fortunately modern restorative dentistry makes it possible to eliminate this heightened sensitivity, improve the overall oral health and comfort, and it can do so beautifully.

Dental fillings, made of either metal or a composite resin material, help to provide protection for fragile teeth against further decay and even the possibility of infection. They work by sealing the interior portions of the tooth, eliminating the possibility of food particles or bacteria entering into the tooth.

While metal amalgam fillings were once most common, now many dentists and patients prefer the benefits of composite resin fillings. These are sometimes called tooth-colored fillings, because of how closely they can be made to match a patient’s natural smile.

Plus, this material bonds well with teeth, creating a tight seal, and produces less conductivity than metal, making it more comfortable for many patients.

If you are diagnosed with a dental cavity, talk to your dentist about the benefits of choosing a tooth-colored filling!

Modern Dental Fillings

  • A tooth filling is called such because it literally fills a cavity in your tooth. First, your dentist cleans away the oral bacteria that is infecting the tooth, along with any tooth structure that’s been compromised by it. Then, a biocompatible material is placed in the cavity to seal, fortify, and protect the tooth.
  • Teeth’s main purpose is to bite and chew your food, which involves high levels of bite pressure. For this reason, metal fillings were popular choices for over a hundred years due to its high durability. In the last several decades, however, tooth-colored composite resin has become the preferable choice. The resin is durable enough to withstand bite pressure and can also be tinted to blend in with healthy, natural tooth structure.
  • One of the problems that past fillings often faced was the failure of the restoration and the reinfection of the tooth structure. A failed filling can often lead to the need for root canal treatment to remove more extensive tooth decay. Yet, tooth-colored composite resin creates a tighter seal than ever against oral bacteria, reducing the risks of needing more involved restorative treatment later.

What is a tooth colored filling?

While metal fillings were once the primary form of cavity restoration, tooth-colored fillings have become popular in recent years, because they’re both functional and more natural-looking.

Tooth-colored fillings are made of the same composite resin material used for cosmetic treatment, called cosmetic bonding, a material that is prized because of both its ability to bond well with teeth, which is important in restorative treatment, and also the natural way it blends in with the smile.

In fact, with a tooth-colored filling most people won’t even recognize that you’ve had any dental work done, which allows you to smile confidently once again, without dental discomfort or embarrassment over an obvious metal filling.

So if you think you might have a cavity, don’t delay restorative treatment any longer. A simple and beautiful filling might be all that is needed to help restore your oral health and protect your damaged tooth!

Learn About the Value of Modern Tooth Fillings

Modern tooth fillings have come a long way, and today, they offer a wide variety of cosmetic and restorative benefits for teeth that suffer from cavities. To learn more, schedule a consultation by calling Lake Forest Dental Arts in Lake Forest, IL, at 847-234-0517. We also proudly serve residents of Chicago and all surrounding communities in the Chicago Metro area.