Dental fillings rarely start with a patient that is looking for their teeth to get a filling, despite the fact that the gold fillings do look very snazzy. The reality is that most patients come in for a regularly scheduled checkup and we find that there are sufficient wear and tear. Thus, the tooth requires a filling to keep the tooth viable. Occasionally, although rare these days, will we get a patient who is young or lucky with great teeth and has no idea what a filling is or why it is necessary.
Dental Check-ups and Dental Fillings
A dental filling is a material that replaces damaged tooth enamel or a tooth that has a cavity. At other times, we will find what is known as a soft spot, where the enamel has almost given way to a cavity but not quite. We prefer to fill these as well since it is only a matter of time before the decay breaks through.
Considering that a dental filling usually starts with an examination, we cannot stress enough the importance of coming in for regular checkups. The best rule of thumb is to try and make an appointment at least twice a year, which allows us to find things like soft spots or identify areas that have excessive plaque buildup. Regular appointments allows Plunkett & Chaw Dental to help prevent these issues from damaging patient’s teeth.
Taking care of a dental filling
The first thing we do with a filling is to numb the area around the tooth so that the patient does not feel any discomfort. We mainly use an application of local anesthetic directly into the gums to numb the mouth. Once the patient’s mouth is numb, he or she will not feel any discomfort besides a little pressure as we work on the teeth.
In order to make sure that we get rid of all the decay and that the decay has no chance of spreading or coming back, we will shave off all the portions of the tooth that have decay. While the dentist is removing this bad enamel, we will also take the opportunity to shape where the cavity had been so that it is a good shape for a filling. This will allow the filling itself to be more secure.
From this point on, the tooth is ready to receive the filling. We will make any specific preparations to the patient’s needs before placing the filling. A bonded filling, for example, we need to etch the tooth whereas some fillings require resin. If a resin is used, we apply it and then use the cool blue light to harden and strengthen it.