Fillings & Sealants
Cavities and tooth decay are frequent dental problems. Getting a filling to fix the affected tooth can prevent the issue from worsening.
Tooth Fillings and Sealants in Peoria, AZ
What is a tooth filling?
Dental fillings are a common procedure used to repair and restore teeth that have been damaged by decay or mild to moderate deterioration. The two types of fillings we offer are safe, composite, and amalgam, but composite fillings are more frequently used as they are a more natural color and blend in better with visible teeth.
What are dental sealants?
Sealants are a protective coating applied on the surface of teeth, mostly for children, but can also be used for adults, to prevent the formation of cavities. They are mostly applied on the deep chewing surfaces of the back teeth as these areas have narrow grooves, pits, and fissures that are hard to clean with a toothbrush and are prone to cavities. The sealants create a smoother surface that is easier to clean and reduces the chances of bacteria buildup, ultimately reducing the need for fillings and the risk of cavities in the first place. It is an easy, fast, and cost-effective way of preventing cavities.
How do cavity fillings work?
Cavity and tooth fillings are required because of the deterioration of holes left in the tooth due to tooth decay. Left unchecked, the decay will continue to spread and damage the tooth. During the filling procedure, dentists clean away the decay inside the cavity, usually with a drill to prevent further damage. But this doesn’t fix the damage that has already been created, so a filling is necessary. The intent of the filling is to replace the part of the tooth that is missing or destroyed by tooth decay. The dentist molds the filling to match the shape of the surrounding tooth, which restores the strength and integrity of the tooth and prevents further decay from happening.
Fillings are necessary when tooth decay causes holes in the teeth. If left untreated, the decay will continue to spread and harm the tooth. Left unchecked a deep cavity can reach the pulp and cause an infection, requiring a root canal to fix. During the filling procedure, your dentist will remove the decay from the cavity and use a filling to replace the missing or damaged part of the tooth. The filling is shaped to match the surrounding tooth, which helps restore the tooth’s strength and prevent further decay.
What types of filling materials are available?
There are several types of materials available that are used for fillings, which include gold, porcelain, silver amalgam (which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper), tooth-colored plastic, and composite resin fillings. There is also a material that contains glass particles and is known as glass ionomer. This material is used in ways similar to the use of composite resin fillings. Which type is used depends on your dentist, the extent and location of your tooth decay, and sometimes, your insurance coverage.
Should I have tooth sensitivity after a filling?
When you get a filling, the area around the infected tooth is numbed by your dentist. As a result, you likely won’t feel anything for an hour or two after your appointment but once the numbing wears off it is typical to feel pain in your teeth and gums.
Pain is common when drinking or eating anything that is hot or cold. It is also common when you brush or floss near the infected tooth. Tender gums are also typical after getting a cavity filled.
Minimize Tooth Sensitivity
You can reduce the sensitivity in your teeth and gums by:
- Taking an anti-inflammatory drug, like Advil or Motrin
- Temporarily avoiding hot, cold, or acidic foods and beverages such as fruit, wine, and yogurt
- Brush and floss more gently
- Use a desensitizing toothpaste like Sensodyne or Colgate Sensitive
How long does a dental sealant last?
Dental sealants have been used and proven to be effective since the 1970s. They are mainly placed on chewing surfaces and are effective in preventing tooth decay. Their lifespan can vary, but many last years—and it is possible to place a new sealant on a tooth if the sealant wears off. It is important to note that sealants only protect the surface of the tooth they are placed on. Using fluoride and other preventative cleaning practices will still help protect all the surfaces of the tooth from decay and cavities.
Who qualifies for dental sealants?
Sealants are designed for healthy teeth that have yet to develop cavities. In most cases, they’re placed on permanent molars shortly after they come in (around the ages of 6 and 12, respectively). However, adults can choose to get sealants too. It may be that their childhood sealants came off or they’re starting to develop cavities in other teeth for the first time.
Investing in affordable dental sealants can help you prevent more extensive (and expensive) oral health treatments in the future.
If you have more questions about fillings and sealants, or if you would like to request an appointment, please contact our office and we will be happy to discuss further.