Tooth Fillings

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Professional Tooth Fillings From the Top Albuquerque Dentist

Many Albuquerque residents experience tooth pain at times. Often, it might come and go, so you think nothing of it. Still, it could indicate a cracked tooth in your mouth or a cavity (decay). Both can be bad for you, and it’s important to get it checked out and taken care of quickly. That way, the cracked tooth or decay doesn’t get worse!

At Ivory Dental, we can help you deal with decay and cracked teeth. The best way to do this (in most cases) is by getting a tooth filling. This cleans out the infection, prevents bacteria from getting back in and doing more damage, and can look just like your natural tooth.

Did you know that the average person has three fillings? It’s true, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Roughly 25 percent of the population has 11 fillings or more!

While we hope you don’t need one, the process is simple and straightforward. Plus, it can help alleviate your tooth pain.

What Is a Tooth Filling?

We can use a tooth filling to help with minor cracks and decay. It’s called a restorative treatment, and it often costs less than other options. For instance, a root canal can also remove the decay from a tooth, but it is more involved than a regular filling.

In fact, this treatment can be used to repair damages to the teeth, minor fractures, and tooth decay. Often, people seek it for cavities because it fills in the hole and prevents any more bacteria from getting in.

With that, you can find various filling materials. Most people choose amalgam for the back teeth, but this metal does turn black over time. If you want something more aesthetically pleasing, porcelain and composite materials are available.

However, some dental insurance plans only cover the cheaper amalgam material. Therefore, you may want to consider what insurance policy you have before making a final decision.

What’s the Procedure?

The tooth filling process is quite simple. Here are the steps we take:

1. Consultation and Planning – The first step is to clean your teeth and find out why you have pain. We offer an oral exam to figure out the problem tooth and can see how deep it is with an X-ray.
2. Numb the Mouth – Once you’re at the Albuquerque office, we give you a local anesthetic to numb the teeth and gums in the area where we’re working.
3. Remove the Decay – Now, we drill out the decay from the tooth. Sometimes, we use lasers and air abrasion instruments. You don’t feel pain because we numbed the area first.
4. Clean the Cavity – When the decay is gone, we clean out the tooth, removing bacteria and debris. This prevents future infection.
5. Filling – Now, we can add the filling material, and we do this in layers. Then, we cure it with a special light.

What’s a Bite Check?

At the end of the filling process, we perform a bite check. Once the filling is hardened, we shape it to look like your natural tooth. Typically, there is extra filling material left over. You bite down on a special sheet of paper and gently rub your teeth together.

Wherever the color is, we can smooth out that area with a file. We continue asking you to bite down gently to make sure you don’t feel anything weird. If you do, we can use the sheet of paper again to find the area that’s causing the problem.

Once everything is done, we polish the filling and check your mouth once again!

How Long Do Teeth Fillings Last?

Dental fillings are designed to be durable, and they could last forever. However, the metal fillings we offer usually last 15 years. With that, resin composite materials last roughly seven years, and porcelain can go even more than 15 years!

While the type of material you choose makes a difference, that’s not all. You also have to have a routine for oral care. That means you should floss and brush regularly. Though that doesn’t necessarily help the material, it does protect the tooth around it and your other teeth.

With that, you also need regular visits to the dentist. Each time you come in, we can check the filling and make sure it’s still stable and doing its job. If there’s a problem, we let you know and can work out a new treatment plan.

The Types of Fillings

Metal and composite fillings are the two most popular choices. In a sense, metal fillings have been proven to work, so they’ve been used the longest. In fact, this has been the go-to material for more than 100 years.

These fillings are also more cost-effective than other materials. On top of that, many dental insurance policies cover metal fillings and might not pay for composite versions.

Typically, we use metal fillings on your back teeth because they rarely show. Plus, they’re resistant to the damages you have by chewing and grinding your food. Silver amalgam is the most popular, but we’ve found that gold is more durable. Still, it’s more costly and requires two different visits to the Albuquerque office to place them.

Though metal does have many benefits, it is more noticeable. If you’re often yawning widely, people could see them. Plus, amalgam features various metals, and you might be sensitive or allergic to them.

Are Composite Fillings Better?

While some people might be allergic to resin composite, there are fewer issues with it. Plus, the composite material is very versatile and can fix chips, cracks, and breaks in your teeth.

However, composite doesn’t last nearly as long, which means you must have it replaced more often. It can also take longer for us to complete the filling process when using composite.

On top of that, most insurance companies don’t cover composite materials. Therefore, you may have to pay for the restoration out of pocket. Sometimes, it can cost double what a silver amalgam filling costs.

Still, if you want to hide imperfections and show off your smile without people seeing the metal, a composite filling might be the better choice. Just remember that it does come with certain downfalls.

Let Ivory Dental Take Care of Your Tooth Fillings

Tooth fillings are a common requirement, and it’s a relatively low-cost restoration for your smile. Though some people use them for cosmetic purposes, they are a preventative measure, too. If you fill a damaged tooth, you can protect it from more bacteria and debris.

That way, your tooth doesn’t hurt anymore, and you don’t have to worry about the hole getting any bigger.

Many people visit Ivory Dental for the first time to get a tooth filling. If you’re experiencing sensitivity to hot and cold or pain, now is the time to visit our Albuquerque office. You may have a cavity in one of your teeth.

It’s important to come now so that we can check the teeth and find the issue. When we do that, we can fill it and fix it so that you’re pain-free again. Call to make an appointment today!