A filling is a dental treatment for a tooth cavity. It fills in the space left by decay or damage and provides a seal to prevent bacteria from entering and further compromising a tooth. Fillings are available in several different materials, including amalgam, gold, composite and ceramic. Generally, the material chosen depends on the patient’s cosmetic and financial needs.
The Filling Procedure
When placing a filling, our priority is to make the child feel as comfortable as possible. Dr. Kamilia will use an anesthetic to numb the tooth. Once the tooth is appropriately numb, the child will only feel sensations such as the cold water being sprayed on the area or a bit of pressure from the instruments being used to complete the filling. If it is practical and the patient prefers it, a bite block may be used to prevent the jaw muscles from tiring. The next step is drilling the tooth to remove the decayed part. Once the tooth is clean and dry, Dr. Kamilia will place the filling.
A composite, or tooth-colored, filling is a more aesthetically pleasing resin materials. This is an excellent option for front teeth or permanent teeth because the filling will very closely match the color of the child’s natural teeth. Composite fillings also work well for molars if the filling is small, but Dr. Kamilia may recommend a different material for larger filings or interproximal decay.
While the tooth is numb and the child is comfortable, Dr. Kamilia will thoroughly and gently remove any decay and clean and prepare the tooth surface where the filling will be placed. The tooth’s exposed surface is then etched with a gel-like tooth conditioner followed by the dentist strategically “painting” on a bonding agent with a small brush. Finally, a special light is used to harden the material into a permanent filling. Once the filling has been cured, the patient will bite on carbon paper to test for artistically sculpted adjustments that will enhance the appearance of functionality of the tooth.
While a filling is a routine and relatively painless procedure, it should be noted that eating a healthy diet and engaging in a daily oral health routine will help to prevent cavities and reduce the need for fillings.
Brushing, flossing and regular professional cleanings are the best way to keep teeth clean and healthy, but sometimes, it is difficult to properly clean all surfaces of the teeth effectively. This is especially true for children who may have difficulty reaching the nooks and crannies of back teeth (molars). A safety net that helps to keep children’s teeth clean and free from cavities is called a sealant. Sealants are thin, plastic coatings that adhere to the chewing surface of teeth. They are BPA-free and quickly bond to the depressions and grooves of teeth, forming a shield that protects the tooth from food and plaque.
Sealants are often beneficial for children and young teenagers on premolars and permanent molars. They are also sometimes placed on baby teeth in young children when deep crevices, depressions or grooves are present. Sealants can help to protect these teeth from baby bottle tooth decay, preserving them and protecting their important role of providing proper spacing for permanent teeth.
Dr. Kamilia applies sealants in our comfortable office setting. The procedure only requires parents to schedule one convenient appointment and takes only minutes to complete.
- First, the teeth are thoroughly cleaned and prepared for the sealant.
- The tooth is dried and surrounded by cotton to keep it dry throughout the procedure.
- An etching gel solution is applied to the surface of the tooth so that the sealant readily adheres.
- The sealant is painted onto the surface of the tooth using a small brush. It will quickly bond and harden with the use of a special curing light.
Children can typically eat and drink as normal immediately after the sealant procedure. With proper care, sealants help protect teeth from decay for up to ten years, though they should be checked in our office at cleaning visits for any chipping or wearing.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will my filling last?
When properly cared for, most fillings last approximately 10-15 years, and in some cases, longer. At Oso Marguerite Dental, we provide our patients with care tips after receiving a new filling and are happy to answer any questions and provide follow-up to ensure the longest lifespan.
Will my filling be uncomfortable after the procedure is complete?
Your filling should not cause any significant discomfort. However, you may experience some sensitivity to heat and cold for up to two days. Any unusual pain or swelling or sensitivity lasting longer than 2 days should be reported to Oso Marguerite Dental for instructions and potential follow-up.
Is my filling covered by insurance?
Most dental insurance plans offer some coverage for fillings. The exact coverage varies by carrier. Oso Marguerite can file a pre-authorization with your insurance carrier to best ascertain coverage amounts. Pre-authorizations are not a guarantee of payment but do often provide the most accurate and up-to-date information available.
My tooth hurts. What should I do next?
If you are experiencing tooth pain, contact Oso Marguerite Dental for an appointment. Our dental professionals will evaluate the tooth using modern procedures and technology and provide you with treatment plan recommendations. Depending on the severity of your condition, same day appointments are available.