Understanding the Procedure of Dental Fillings

Dental filling is one of many dental restorative treatments in a dentist’s arsenal to make your smile better. It is used to repair tooth decay, minor tooth fractures, or damaged surfaces of teeth.

The materials used for dental fillings include gold, resin fillings, special plastic, porcelain, composite and silver amalgam. These same materials can be used for repairing the teeth surfaces for improved chewing and biting.

Dental fillings are mostly utilized to treat tooth sensitivity, which occurs due to tooth decay caused by enamel loss. In extreme cases, when decay has penetrated deep into the tooth, a dental filling on its own will not be able to fix the problem. Such cases require alternative or additional procedures like:

  • Root canals – when the decay starts to effect the tooth’s nerves i.e. becomes infected with bacteria, a root canal will need to be conducted.
  • Dental Implants – incase the extent of decay is such that the tooth has to be extracted, the dentist recommends a dental implant or dental bridge to replace the tooth.
  • Dental crowns – if a tooth is unable to support itself even after a dental filling, a dental crown may be inserted to give it extra support.

Cost of Dental Fillings

The total cost of dental fillings depends on several factors such as the kind of filling material you choose. An amalgam filling will be less expensive than a composite resin filling. Other factors that impact the cost are the dentist’s charges, the location of the filling, your dental insurance coverage, and the number of fillings required. However, an amalgam filling can cost from $110 to $200 while a composite resin filling can cost around $135 to $240.

The Procedure of Dental Fillings

  • First and foremost, your dental will use local anesthesia to numb the area surrounding the tooth that needs to be filled.
  • With an air abrasion tool, laser or drill the dentist will remove the debris and bacteria.
  • Next, the dentist will make sure that the tooth is completely free of the bacteria and debris by gently probing and testing the area.
  • After being sure no residual debris remains, the dentist will isolate the tooth so as to prevent any moisture, in the form of saliva, mixes with the bonding.
  • In case the decay is closer to the roots of the tooth, the dentist will take actions to protect the nerves like lining the tooth with composite resin or glass ionomer.
  • Next, the bonding process for which the dentist uses several adhesives quickly followed by the composite material. The composite matches the color of the teeth.
  • The dentist hardens the composite by using a curing light, which generates such high levels of heat that it becomes blue.
  • Lastly, once the composite sets, the dentist will shape it according to the patient’s dental structure and trim away any excess edges. Finally, he will polish the filling to give a refined effect.

After the dental filling, your dentist will explain to you the steps you will need to take to stop any future cavities forming around the filled area and other teeth.