Fillings help protect teeth already damaged by tooth decay from decaying any further. Once a tooth is filled up, any pain or discomfort associated with the cavity should disappear. At Washington Courthouse Dental, we provide tooth-colored fillings that look just like your natural teeth, so people won’t even be able to tell that you have fillings in some of your teeth.
What is a Cavity?
A cavity is a hole in the tooth caused by tooth decay which occurs when the acids produced by the plaque and bacteria in your mouth erode your tooth enamel, leading to weak spots. Without treatment, weak spots worsen and eventually lead to cavities.
If you ignore a cavity, the hole will continue to get bigger and deeper. And while cavities themselves aren’t contagious, the bacteria in them can spread to nearby teeth. If you don’t take care of the first cavity promptly, you could have two cavities to deal with. What’s more, if the cavity grows to the point that the pulp chamber is compromised, you’ll spend a lot more than the cost of fillings to save the tooth – you may need a root canal or a tooth extraction.
Why Would I Need to Get a Cavity Filled?
To treat a cavity, our dentists will remove the decayed portion of the tooth, creating an open space in the tooth that we fill with a tooth-colored filling. Filling in the hole helps prevent bacteria from congregating in that space, protecting against further decay.
What is a Tooth-Colored Filling?
Tooth-colored fillings are made from various substances, including fine glass and plastic. This type of filling provides a cosmetic dental alternative to traditional amalgam fillings. It is a tooth-colored material that blends in with the color of your natural teeth, making it perfect for treating cavities affecting teeth near the front of your mouth.
A dental filling also bonds with your natural tooth structure, rather than simply filling in the cavity. Because of this, less of your natural tooth structure needs to be drilled away to place the filling. Tooth-colored fillings are versatile and can be used to repair chipped or worn-out teeth. A small bit of the healthy tooth needs to be removed, unlike silver amalgam fillings.
Cavity Filling Process
- Local anesthetic to numb the area: Before we begin the cavity-filling process, we’ll administer a local anesthetic to numb the tooth area. This will help prevent any pain.
- Decay removal: Once the area is numb, we’ll isolate the tooth using a rubber dam. Tooth isolation is critical during a composite restoration because it prevents moisture from interfering with the bonding process. We will then use a specialized tool, such as a dental drill or laser, to remove the decayed area of the tooth.
- Apply tooth-colored filling to the tooth: We’ll then sterilize and prepare the area for the filling, apply the tooth-colored filling and use a special light that “cures” or hardens the filling material. When the process is complete, trim any excess material and polish the final restoration.
How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?
Tooth-colored fillings can last, on average, about seven years, but with proper care, they can last ten years or more. You can make your dental fillings last longer by following these tips:
- Thoroughly brush and floss your teeth and rinse your mouth with a mouth rinse
- Maintain daily flossing
- Limit your sugar intake and stay away from sticky snacks
- Avoid acidic drinks like sodas and juices
- Do not put undue pressure on your teeth by biting down on hard objects or using your teeth to tear tape or packages.
- Visit your dentist twice yearly (or as recommended) for check-ups and cleanings.
How Can You Prevent Cavities?
Here are a few tips to help you reduce the risk of cavities:
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste two times a day and floss your teeth daily
- Drink water with fluoride
- Visit your dentist regularly
- Rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouth rinse
- Stay away from sugary and acidic foods and drinks, such as candies and soda
- Consider dental sealants to protect your back teeth from bacteria-causing cavities
Dental Filling Cost
Tooth-colored fillings usually cost between $150 to $300, but dental insurance typically covers the treatment cost.
Schedule Your Appointment Today!
A dental filling is an investment in your long-term oral health, helping to treat cavities and prevent further damage. At Washington Courthouse Dental, we provide the best-in-class dental care and are committed to giving you the healthy and bright smile you deserve. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!