Dental fillings can repair teeth damaged by minor decay or small fractures, protecting them from more costly restorative treatments, such as dental crowns.* At Stubbs Dental, our doctors use the special DIAGNOdent™ cavity detection device to accurately catch issues in their earliest stages. Although we strive to prevent cavities with preventative dentistry, decay is a common concern. When a conservative dental filling is used to treat a tooth that has been damaged by decay, it can help restore health to your smile in just one visit. As one of the most commonly performed treatments at our Bountiful, UT, practice, we use composite resin to provide durable, natural-looking results.
Why Dental Fillings are Necessary
Although enamel, the outer surface of your tooth, is one of the strongest substances in the body, it is not impenetrable. When the foods you eat remain on the surface of your teeth, they will begin to combine with the bacteria in your mouth to form plaque. Over time, if plaque buildup is not removed, it can erode your enamel and cause small holes to develop, known as cavities. Once the enamel is compromised, it must be treated with a dental filling. If not, the decay will continue to spread to the underlying layers of the tooth. If the decay penetrates the inner pulp, this will require more complex treatments, such as root canal therapy. In some cases, it may even require an extraction.
Composite Resin Fillings vs. Amalgam Restorations
At Stubbs Dental, we use composite resin for our dental fillings rather than silver amalgam. Silver amalgam fillings not only contain trace amounts of mercury, which many patients wish to avoid altogether, but they are easily noticeable in your mouth. Amalgam fillings require more of the tooth's structure to be altered during placement, and expand when hot or cold foods are consumed. This continual expansion can cause small cracks in the tooth, resulting in even more damage.
Compared to amalgam, tooth-colored fillings provide a safe, durable, and more natural-looking result.
Composite resin uses a combination of glass and acrylic that can be tinted to match the natural shade of the tooth, offering seamless aesthetics. These restorations, also known as tooth-colored fillings, provide a safe, durable, and more natural-looking result. When properly cared for, they can last up to 10 to 15 years.*
How Dental Fillings are Placed
During your consultation, one of our doctors will use DIAGNOdent technology to analyze the health of your tooth. This device uses laser technology to locate even the smallest cavity so treatment can be administered immediately before progressing into something more serious. Our doctors can often provide same-day treatment to eliminate the need for multiple office visits. A dental filling can be completed with just four simple steps:
- Anesthesia: To begin, a local anesthetic will be administered to numb the tooth and nearby gums. If you struggle with dental anxiety, we can provide sedation to ensure optimal comfort.
- Preparation: Once the area is numb and you are comfortable, the decayed area will be removed and the tooth thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.
- Application: The doctor will then prepare the resin, tinting it so that it closely matches your tooth. Composite resin fillings are carefully applied in layers. To reinforce the material, a curing light will be used to treat the area.
- Polishing: Any surplus composite will be trimmed and the tooth polished to reveal beautiful results. Although the tooth will be numb for a few hours afterwards, you can return to normal activities immediately.
Protect Your Smile
If you are experiencing dental sensitivity, you may have a cavity. Contact us today to reserve a time for your complimentary cavity consultation.