Dental fillings (a.k.a. restoration) probably don't conjure up pleasant thoughts in your mind. However, at Cornelius Dental Clinic we feel that knowledge results in power, so we want to help you change your thoughts here. The first thing you should know is that dental fillings will restore the structure of your tooth so it can look and function well once again. It doesn't matter why your tooth was destroyed in the first place (e.g., cavity, trauma); this is important.
How Fillings Work
When you arrive in our office for a filling, you'll get local anesthesia that ensures that area of your mouth is significantly numb. Only after this happens will we take out our dental drill to cut through the enamel on your tooth and remove any decay that we find there. Once the decay is gone, we can get your tooth ready to be filled with layers of composite - a type of amalgam (a mixture of mercury, tin, and silver). This will fill your tooth up again.
Feelings Associated with Fillings
You won't experience any pain because you've received a local anesthetic. Once this wears off after the procedure, you may feel a bit of tingling or have a sensitive tooth. You can take a pain reliever and should avoid eating any foods that are either hot or cold. There's also toothpaste available that's been specially designed to use with sensitive teeth. Make sure you do so with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
The Lifespan of Dental Fillings
As you can imagine, the purpose behind getting a filling is to replace its structure that's been lost due to decay. Unfortunately, a filling isn't meant to last a lifetime. It'll need to be replaced after several years since you must use your teeth to eat and drink the food your body needs for nourishment. Sometimes you may even unknowingly place additional stress on your teeth when you either clench or grind them together.
Additionally, your mouth is full of bacteria that forms a sticking layer known as plaque on your teeth. These bacteria also release acid, which causes damage to your teeth, breaks down tooth enamel and can cause your teeth (even the fillings that you have in your teeth) to become decayed. Of course, taking good care of your teeth is helpful here.
As your dentist, we can tell you when you'll need to have your fillings replaced. This is because we can see the seal between your tooth and the filling break down. You don't want this to happen because it can let decay-causing bacteria (e.g., food particles) to get in between your tooth and the filling there.
Amalgam fillings will typically last longer than composite fillings - 10-15 years instead of 5. Unfortunately, this is because composite fillings aren't as strong or durable, which is why they can't withstand pressure as well. This is especially true when used for filling large cavities.
Hopefully, this information about fillings has made you feel comfortable enough to contact Cornelius Dental Clinic at (503) 359-0339, so you can get the help you need.