Nobody wants to get cavities (or caries, as your dentist may call them), but when you do, the best way to treat it is to get a filling. There are several different options available for dental fillings, and when you come to The Dental Clinic at Roseman University you will consult with a student dentist to decide what is the most advantageous and affordable option for getting your cavity or cavities filled. Your student dentist may recommend specific procedures and materials based on the size and location of the cavity, how long the materials are expected to last, and the costs for treatment (whether you are paying out of pocket or have a private insurance provider).
Common Dental Filling Options
- Composite resins are tooth-colored fillings made of a mixture or glass or quartz filler so they offer exceptional durability and won’t become damaged or cracked while chewing. This material can be used on both front and back teeth.
- Dental amalgam is a silver-colored filling that is made of metals such as mercury, silver, tin, and/or copper. Dentists have been using this material for decades because it’s durable and affordable, although the metal color is more obvious than other tooth-colored alternatives.
- Gold fillings (also called inlays or onlays) use gold, copper, and other metals to fill the cavity. This type of filling has been used in dentistry for more than 1,000 years because it is so durable, but it does have some drawbacks. It’s more costly than dental amalgam and doesn’t provide the natural look that composite resins offer.
If you are experiencing dental pain and think you may have a cavity, your student dentist may use one or more of several methods to find out. Generally he or she will begin with an examination to identify discolored spots on your teeth, or use instruments like an explorer to probe your teeth for possible decay. Since decaying enamel is soft, a sharp object will stick slightly if one or more of your teeth have caries. In other situations your dentist may use cavity-detecting dye or x-rays to find decay that may not be visible otherwise.
Other Reasons for Fillings
While caries (cavities) and decay are one reason for getting a filling, this treatment can also be used to repair cracked or broken teeth, or teeth worn down from grinding and other bad habits like nail-biting or using teeth to open packaging. You may also need to get a new filling if you have an existing one that cracks, breaks, wears out, or falls out over time.
The process for getting a filling is generally pretty quick, and can often be done in a single visit. Your student dentist will give you some local anesthesia to numb the area if needed, then use drills and other tools to remove the decay. Once all the decay is removed he or she will shape the tooth and prepare it for the filling material. Patients may experience some slight sensitivity after a filling, after the anesthesia wears off, but this usually only lasts for about a week. If you experience severe pain or discomfort, call your dentist immediately.
Call 801-878-1200 today to schedule an exam if you think you may need a filling. Our friendly staff can help you get the treatment you need.