What is a tooth-colored filling?
A dental filling is used to restore a tooth that has been affected by decay or trauma. Traditionally, in the past teeth were filled with amalgam or silver filling material which contained mercury. Now as dental materials have evolved we have access to more modern dental filling material, called composite. Composite materials are non-toxic and bond to the existing tooth structure, is light cured, and tooth colored! Patients can enjoy are more aesthetically pleasing look in addition to a safe, strong alternative to amalgam.
What does the procedure entail?
Typically patients will have anesthetic and on average will spend about a half hour in the office per filling. Your doctor will remove any damaged tooth or decay then start the bonding process. The area surrounding the tooth will need to be extremely dry. A conditional liquid is then placed on the tooth and rinsed away. Next a bonding agent is placed and light cured. The composite material is then placed, compressed and sculpted by your doctor. The material is then light cured, or hardened, and lastly smoothed and polished.
What are the advantages?
Filling material that is undetectable in the mouth provides patients will superior aesthetics. The composite material is light cured and is completely set before you leave the office. Previous amalgam fillings relied on mechanical retention to hold the filling in where composite is bonded to the actual tooth. Amalgam fillings over time would developed micro-leakage where the filling and tooth would separate from one another creating small areas that could harbor bacteria. Bonded composite material creates an impenetrable seal between the filling and tooth and can be a very conservative way to treat a tooth.
What are the disadvantages?
In order to place a composite filling, tooth structure is usually removed prior, this is an irreversible but necessary procedure. The life expectancy of composite varies from person to person, but typically lasts 5-7 years.
Who is a candidate for this service?
A consultation and conversation with your doctor will be needed to determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure, however, this is one of the most common procedures in the dental office.
There is no recovery time for this procedure, we just ask that you do not do any heavy duty chewing until your anesthetic has worn off, as there is potential for injury to the tongue or tissue. Sensitivity to cold immediately following your filling is considered normal and to be expected and should subside over time. Depending on how many fillings you have placed in one sitting, on average one single filling will take about a half hour and is completed with just one visit. The cost of this procedure will vary depending on how many teeth will be treated. A treatment plan will be presented and reviewed prior to your visit. Typically, this procedure is covered by insurance, however, all plans are different and you will have the opportunity to speak with an administrative insurance specialist to discuss your specific coverage.
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