While we recommend brushing and flossing to prevent them, cavities can still happen to the best of us. If left untreated, cavities can lead to tooth decay, tooth abscesses and even tooth extractions. That’s why fillings are so important. Your doctor will help you determine the type of restoration that is best for you based upon the location and condition of the tooth involved, your health history, cosmetic expectations, and dental budget.
Placement of amalgam, or silver colored, fillings in the anterior teeth would be unsightly; therefore, they are generally only considered acceptable for placement on the posterior teeth. These fillings offer no aesthetic value, are visible while eating and speaking, and may cause further cosmetic concern as the metal ages, corrodes, or darkens. Changes in temperature from food and drinks consumed will cause the restoration to expand and contract ultimately resulting in weakening, or possibly fracture, of the tooth. Furthermore, if the tooth requires a large filling the remaining natural tooth structure may appear dark or gray in color. Amalgam fillings are not discrete and do not boast of good health; therefore, most patients opt for composite fillings.
A resin composite, or tooth colored, restoration offers a natural appearance in contrast to traditional amalgam, or silver colored, fillings. Composite fillings are considered to be the most conservative restoration available because they require less tooth preparation, or drilling. The tooth becomes weaker as the amount of preparation increases and smaller restorations last longer, so it’s best to keep it to a minimum.
Composite and amalgam fillings may last up to ten to twelve years depending on the size and position of the restoration, foods eaten, and proper care. Composites are more complex to place than amalgams; therefore, the cost associated with them is also higher. Your doctor will recommend the restorative materials best suited to meet your dental needs. Insurance coverage, or lack thereof, will never dictate what dental treatment we feel you need and deserve. Our goal is to provide you with the best and longest lasting restorations possible. Your doctor will be glad to discuss these options with you.
Sedative restorations are most commonly placed in deeply decayed teeth that are causing discomfort. A medicated, sedative filling will be temporarily placed in the area where the decay has been removed to allow time for the nerve to calm and the tooth to heal. After the completion of this period of time, the sedative restoration will be removed and the tooth will be examined to determine the need for further treatment. Your doctor may be able to restore the tooth with a filling or another restoration such as an inlay, onlay, or overlay. However, If the decay was quite deep and the nerve does not heal; endodontic treatment, or root canal therapy, will be necessary to alleviate discomfort and save the tooth.
If you have multiple large cavities and/or other serious dental problems, we may choose to first restore all the teeth with sedative restorations. This will quickly stabilize the teeth so that they do not continue to deteriorate from the decay as we address the other more serious dental problems. Once you are out of that urgent dental situation, the doctor will thoroughly plan the best methods to restore your teeth.
Our dentists examine the size and location of a cavity to determine the most ideal materials to use and best treat your cavity.
Cosmetic concerns, lifetime of the filling, insurance coverage and out of pocket cavity fillings costs are some other considerations that we discuss with patients before providing our affordable cavity fillings.