Dr. Weinstock offers patients tooth-colored dental fillings (a white filling) for their safety and aesthetic appeal. Traditional metal fillings have high levels of mercury that are believed to be associated with medical risks.
Modern composite dental fillings can match the color of natural teeth to blend in seamlessly with the patient’s natural smile, and are mercury-free. Dental fillings are highly effective at restoring a tooth that has suffered from decay or minor damage. This is one of the most common dental procedures that Dr. Weinstock offers to patients.
Replacing Metal Fillings
Dr. Weinstock offers patients the choice to remove old silver fillings and have them replaced with resin tooth-colored fillings. Patients may choose to have this procedure done when their metal fillings are visible or in the “smile-zone”. Many patients have silver/mercury (amalgam) fillings from years past in their mouths.
These fillings are not particularly pleasing to the eye, and we know that by unavoidable design, silver/mercury fillings ultimately result in a weaker tooth structure. Porcelain inlays and composite resins create fillings that are not only beautiful (and practically undetectable) but also add strength to weakened teeth. These restorations are aesthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new adhesive technologies.
Dental Filling Process
The dental filling process typically involves the following steps:
- Numbing the Area: Dr. Weinstock will administer a local anesthetic to numb the affected tooth and surrounding area, ensuring that you feel no pain during the procedure.
- Removing Decay: To prepare the tooth, he will remove the decayed portion of the tooth, leaving a clean cavity.
- Filling the Cavity: Then, Dr. Weinstock will fill in the cavity with a composite resin material. This dental filling material provides a natural appearance.
- Shaping and Polishing: The filling material is shaped to match the natural tooth’s contours and polished for a smooth finish, ensuring it feels comfortable and blends seamlessly with adjacent teeth.
- Setting the Filling: Your dentist will use a special curing light to harden the material, making it durable and functional immediately after the procedure.
- Final Adjustments: The last step is to check your bite. Dr. Weinstock will make sure the filling doesn’t interfere with their natural bite pattern. He will make any adjustments if necessary.
Inlays and Onlays
If a patient has a tooth with more than half of the chewing surface damaged, a dentist will often use an inlay or onlay.
Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin. Your dentist will bond the pieces to the damaged area of the tooth. An inlay, which is similar to a filling, is for the inside the cusp tips of the tooth. An onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, similar to the inlay but extending out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth.
Traditionally, gold has been the material of choice for inlays and onlays because it is extremely durable. In recent years, however, porcelain has become increasingly popular due to its strength and color, which can potentially match the natural color of your teeth. Porcelain can match the exact color, shape, and size of your natural tooth enamel to blend in seamlessly with the rest of your smile.
How are inlays & onlays applied?
Inlays and onlays typically require two appointments to complete. The first step is to remove the old filling or decaying area of the tooth. Then the dentist will prepare the tooth for the inlay or onlay.
To ensure proper fit and bite, we will take an impression of the tooth. Your dentist will send it to a dental lab where they will fabricate it to the exact color, shape, and size of your natural tooth. We will fit you for a temporary restoration until your new one is ready. In general, it typically takes about two weeks for the dental lab to create your permanent restoration and ship it back to our ofice.
At the second appointment, your dentist will try on the inlay or onlay restoration to ensure proper fit. If the fit is good, your dentist will bond it to the tooth with a strong resin and polish it for a smooth finish. We always make sure that you are happy with the fit and feel of your restoration before permanently placing it.
Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50 percent. As an alternative, dentists can bond inlays and onlays directly on to the tooth using special high-strength resins. This can actually increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75 percent. As a result, they can last from 10 to 30 years. In some cases, where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire dental crown, onlays can provide a very good alternative.
Dental Fillings FAQs
Do you have further questions about the process and aftercare for dental fillings? Continue reading to find answers to frequently asked questions in our office. If you still have additional questions or concerns, please call our office during regular business hours.
How long do dental fillings last?
Dental fillings’ lifespan depends on the material your dentist uses. They are typically made out of composite materials that match your teeth and enamel so they blend in. These last between 10-12 years. The other material used for fillings is metal, which can last longer but will not blend in with your surrounding teeth. made of metal can last longer. In general, we typically resort to composite fillings, unless we are placing the filling in the back of the patient’s mouth where it will not be seen.
Does it hurt to get a dental filling?
Dental fillings do not involve areas of the mouth that are nervous, so you shouldn’t not feel any pain while we are placing your filling. There are numbing products that we can apply before the procedure starts to alleviate any discomfort. Although you can’t feel pain, you will be able to feel the pulling and movement of the tools during treatment. Sometimes patients may feel some pain when the filling is deep and near the nerve, but that is not common.
How long does it take to fill a cavity?
The amount of time it takes to fill a cavity varies on the severity, size, and spot that the cavity is in. It typically is around a 15-minute to hour-long procedure. Oftentimes cavities come in multiples. We can treat multiple cavities in one sitting, however, this can cause a longer appointment length than expected. In general, we will not fill more than four cavities in a single sitting.
What happens during a cavity filling?
Having a dentist fill your cavities is a necessary part of preventing tooth decay. It will save your tooth and is the best thing for your oral health. Dentists typically numb the tooth and surrounding area prior to beginning work to make the experience as comfortable as possible. He will then drill a hole in your tooth to remove any decay and replace it with the filling. This removes any decay and replaces it so that it does not have the opportunity to spread to other areas of your mouth.
How long does a dental filling appointment usually take?
A dental filling appointment typically takes about 45 minutes to an hour. The duration of your appointment will depend on the size and location of your cavity and the complexity of the procedure. Dr. Weinstock can complete a simple filling in one visit, ensuring minimal disruption to your schedule.
Can I eat and drink immediately after getting a filling?
Yes, you can eat and drink immediately after getting a dental filling, as the filling material hardens quickly. However, we will advise that you avoid hot or hard foods and drinks for a few hours. This is necessary to prevent any accidental damage to the numbed area. We will provide you with specific post-filling instructions based on your individual case.
Can old or damaged fillings be replaced?
Yes, old and damaged fillings can be replaced. Dr. Weinstock will assess the condition of your existing fillings during regular check-ups. If a filling shows signs of wear, decay, or damage, he will suggest that it be replaced with a new filling. Regular dental visits help identify such issues, ensuring timely replacement to maintain oral health.
Can dental fillings cause tooth sensitivity?
Yes, dental fillings can cause tooth sensitivity, especially right after the procedure. Sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet, or pressure is common and usually subsides within a few weeks. However, if your sensitivity persists or worsens, it’s important to consult with your dentist to ensure there are no underlying issues with the filling.
What can I do to prevent the need for future fillings?
To prevent future fillings, maintain excellent oral hygiene by brushing twice daily, flossing, and using mouthwash. Limit sugary foods and drinks, and opt for a balanced diet rich in calcium. Attend regular dental check-ups for professional cleanings and early detection of cavities. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption for overall oral health.