General Dentists in Wappingers Falls, NY Shares Dental Fillings 101
Dental fillings are treatments that fall under the category of restorative dentistry, which is why they are more appropriately referred to as “restorations.” The most common use for a filling is to fill a space within the tooth where decay (a cavity) once was. There are, however, other instances in which a filling may be prescribed, such as to repair fractures in teeth or to cover sensitive areas.
Why a Dental Filling is Needed
Whether you are at the dentist’s office for a regular cleaning and checkup, or for another reason such as a toothache, your dentist will use several methods to determine if you have cavities and therefore need fillings. This starts with visual examination. The dentist will examine each of the teeth and use an instrument to probe suspicious areas on the tooth. X-rays are also a vital component of diagnosing cavities, since dentists obviously cannot see in between teeth and because it is this area where cavities are most commonly found.
If you have cavities, your dentist will discuss different filling options and materials. These include:
• Amalgam (silver) fillings
• Composite (white) fillings
• Inlay/Onlay (uncommon)
• In rare cases, gold fillings
Each type of filling material has pros and cons and each type is best suited for a particular type of cavity. Your dentist will discuss the options with you and recommend which is best for your situation.
How Dental Fillings are Done
First and foremost, your dentist will numb the tooth or teeth to be filled. With this complete, a dental hand piece (also known as the “drill”) is used to remove diseased tooth structure. With the affected tooth material removed, the dentist will carefully shape the hole in the tooth to be retentive and promote long-term health of the tooth.
Amalgams, or “silver” fillings, are packed into the hole after being activated. Activated amalgam has the consistency of wet sand, allowing the dentist to manipulate it easily. The material hardens during the time that the dentist is applying it and becomes fully set within an hour or so.
Composite fillings—which are tooth-colored—are chemically bonded to the tooth using specialized glue. This material is putty-like in consistency prior to being cured. Once the dentist has the composite filling in place and is satisfied with the result, a specialized light is held over the filling for 20 seconds, causing it to cure, or harden.
Regardless of which kind of filling material is used, the dentist finishes by ensuring that the margins of the filling are smooth and closed and that the correct bite relationship is still intact.
Have questions for your general dentists in Wappinger Falls, NY? Please call Family Smiles of the Hudson Valley today at (845) 223-9987!