Fillings & Restorations

Many people in San Diego, CA suffer from tooth decay. Once you have tooth decay a cavity is formed in the tooth, and fillings or restorations are used to fill the cavity. Fillings are necessary because if you leave the cavity open it will lead to further decay. In fact, if a cavity is left untreated it can lead to multiple complications – the area can get a bacterial infection that will lead to pus cavities forming in the gum, you will suffer severe headaches and toothaches and if the infection travels to your brain it can be fatal. Fillings are made of different materials so your dentist will choose whichever one he feels is best for you based on how big your cavity is and where it is located. They will also consider the cost – some fillings are a lot more expensive than others. You can also let him know in case there is one type of restoration that you prefer over the others.

What does the procedure of getting a filling involve?

Once your doctor has determined that you have a cavity that is large enough to be filled, he will do the following:

  • So that you don’t feel any pain the doctor will anesthetize you using a special kind of gel which will numb the area after which he will inject local anesthesia in the gum around the tooth. The dentist can also give you nitrous oxide or laughing gas, a form of sedation that helps you feel relaxed.
  • The dentist will place around the tooth a rubber dam that will capture excessive saliva and tooth chips from getting into your throat during the procedure.
  • Once this is done the dentist then drills out all the decayed bits of the tooth, cleans it thoroughly and then inserts the filling.

Different materials that are used to make fillings and restorations come with both advantages and disadvantages.

Amalgam

This is the most common material used for fillings by dentists in San Diego, CA. It is a mixture of several different metals, and the main component is mercury. It can last for more than 10 years and dentists like to use it because it is the cheapest fillings there is. They also like it because using amalgam, the procedure can be done in just one dental visit. It comes with several disadvantages – it doesn’t match the color of teeth which makes is quite conspicuous, it tarnishes over time and generally, your dentist will have to get rid of more tooth in order to insert it right. There is also an issue with the fact that it contains mercury – mercury can be toxic but research has proved that the amount of mercury in amalgam fillings is not enough to lead to health problems unless one suffers from mercury allergies.

Composite resin

This kind of restoration is made of a combination of plastic and very fine glass particles. The filling can be direct – the dentist used a special blue light to bond it to the tooth right away, or it can be indirect where the dentist takes a mold of the tooth, sends it to a dental lab for them to create the filling and then inserts it into place using a special kind of bonding agent.

The advantage of composite resin is that it can be used in both large and small cavities. Your dentist will not drill much into the tooth to make room for this kind of filling. The problem, though, is that it costs far more than amalgam fillings and it also lasts a shorter time – you will need to have it changed in 5 years.

Gold Alloy

A gold alloy filling is the strongest filling of them all. These kinds of fillings are made from a mix of gold and several other metals. It looks much better than a composite resin filling which is silver. It lasts a lot longer than other fillings, but the problem is that it is about 10 times more expensive than amalgam fillings. To get this kind of filling requires that you see your dentist twice – one so that your dentist can take a mold of the tooth and a second time to have it placed. If you already have an amalgam filling you cannot place a gold allot filling next to it – when they come in contact they produce current.

These are the 3 most common materials used to make fillings in San Diego, CA. There others which are less common are ceramic fillings and glass lonomer fillings, both of which are more expensive than amalgam fillings.

Advantages of Tooth Colored Restorations?

There are many advantages to tooth-colored restorations. Resin onlays are bonded to the teeth creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. Such restorations can be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost. The tooth remains intact and stronger.

Since the resin used in tooth-colored restorations contain fluoride this can help prevent decay. The resin wears like natural teeth and does not require placement at the gum line, which is healthier for your gums!

The result is a beautiful smile!