Do you have fillings in your teeth? If not, you’re in the minority. Approximately 99 percent of all Americans will need at least one filling in their lifetime. In fact, it’s not just adults who have to think about fillings: tooth decay is the most common chronic health problem among American children. Fillings are the solution to this problem. They repair and restore decayed teeth to make your smile whole again. Unfortunately, fillings don’t last forever and should be checked by your dentist at every visit.

Do you want to learn more about oral health and your fillings, Clinton NJ? Drs. Victoria Uryniak and Carson Ferris-Zeolla are here to help you and your family stay in a good state or oral health. Contact Quality Dentistry at Walnut Pond for an appointment.

Fillings Are Not Forever

When a tooth has been restored with a filling, it has had its structure restored, but it is still a damaged tooth and should be monitored. Metal fillings tend to last a bit longer than white fillings (12 years vs. 8 years, approximately) but no filling should be expected to stay effective for longer than a decade. If you have fillings that have lasted so long you can’t even remember when you got them, it may be time to get a check-up.

A filling should last a long time, but even newer fillings can fail, depending on their location and how they are used. Call Quality Dentistry at Walnut Pond if:

  • A filling feels loose
  • A filling changes in appearance
  • A restored tooth starts to feel different
  • You experience any toothache or unusual sensations in a restored tooth

What Happens During a Filling Treatment?

When tooth enamel becomes demineralized by bacterial acids, we can usually reverse the damage with fluoride treatments. However, once a hole has formed in the tooth, the only treatment is to replace the lost tooth matter. This replacement is called a filling because it fills up the hole and restores the tooth to its original dimensions and usability.

When we find a cavity, the first step is to consult with dental x-rays to determine the depth and dimensions of the damage. With this information we can restore the tooth with a filling.

  1. If the filling is deep, we may start the process with a local anesthetic to numb the area. We know no one likes needles, but this ensures you won’t feel any sensitivity during treatment.
  2. We treat the tooth with a dental drill. This consists of removing the bacteria and decayed tooth matter.
  3. When the inside of the cavity has been cleaned and smoothed, we fill the space with dental composite.
  4. A curing light is used to harden the composite and bond it to the tooth.
  5. After the filling is bonded, we will shape and smooth it, to make sure it feels natural in your bite.

A Quick Word About Mercury in Metal Fillings

Metal amalgam fillings contain a small amount of mercury. It’s what makes the filling pliable and able to be molded into the cavity. This is noteworthy because mercury is toxic to humans. It has been determined by the FDA and the ADA that the mercury in fillings is not a danger to your health, however, since it stays in the fillings and does not transfer to the living tissues of the body. However, as metal fillings age and begin to lose effectiveness, there may be a greater risk of leakage. This is another great reason to have your metal fillings checked regularly, and, if you choose, replaced with white fillings.

Despite the mercury in fillings being deemed safe by official health organizations, many people prefer to avoid them because waste mercury can be an environmental hazard. At Quality Dentistry at Walnut Pond we prefer not to use metal fillings, and many of our patients appreciate the cosmetic benefit of tooth-colored fillings.

White Fillings, Clinton NJ

In our dental office we provide tooth-colored fillings made from dental composite resin. This material is a combination of very fine particles of glass, plastic, and minerals, held together in a stable resin matrix. This material is pliable and bonds permanently to the tooth when hardened under a curing light. This material is extremely durable and looks beautiful in your smile. If you need a filling, Clinton NJ, call us today at 908-200-7007 to make an appointment.