Tooth decay and cavities rank among the most common dental health issues. Cavities are tiny holes that appear in a tooth because of tooth decay. They typically form when bacteria and trapped food deposits combine to cause an acidic reaction, eroding the tooth surface (enamel). Cracks and chips can also develop because of tooth grinding and nail biting.
Without treatment, the hole or crack expands gradually, compromising the integrity of the affected tooth. The decay can spread to neighboring teeth, leading to multiple cavities. Our dentist at Higbee Family Dentistry can help stop cavities from progressing using dental fillings. Reach out to us for quality dental fillings in Eugene, OR, and let us restore your dazzling smile and oral health.
What Are Dental Fillings?
Dental fillings are materials used to restore damaged or diseased teeth. They fill cavities, reinstating the shape and functions of teeth affected by decay or dental trauma. Our dentist will remove decayed tissue from your tooth and fill the hole with a material of your choice to stop the spread of decay-causing bacteria and repair your damaged tooth.
Why Do You Need Dental Fillings?
You might be a good candidate for dental fillings if you have cracked or decayed teeth. Cavities can increase the likelihood of tooth sensitivity. As such, filling the diseased tooth can help reverse tooth sensitivity and alleviate discomfort. Children with early tooth decay may also be suitable candidates for tooth fillings. Dental fillings prevent the progress of caries, ensuring optimum oral health.
Common Types of Dental Fillings
There are several materials used for dental fillings. The appropriate dental filling depends on the severity of deterioration and your personal preferences. These include:
Amalgam fillings are dark metal fillings containing silver or other materials like zinc and copper. They are ideal for large cavities in pre-molars and molars because of their indiscrete color. They are notable for their durability and resilience to wear. They can last up to 10 to 15 years before requiring replacements. Most importantly, they are more affordable than other dental fillings.
Composite (Tooth-Colored) Fillings
Composite or tooth-colored fillings are arguably the most popular type of tooth fillings for tiny dental caries. They contain a mix of glass and quartz, matched to the existing shade of your tooth, making them less conspicuous and suitable for visible cavities. Composite resins are distinguished for their functional value and pleasing aesthetics. A replacement might be necessary after five to 10 years.
Ceramic or porcelain fillings are similar to tooth-colored fillings. They match natural teeth and are aesthetically alluring. The only difference is that they last longer than composite resins. They also cost more but offer good value since they are durable and stain-resistant.
Glass Ionomer Fillings
Glass ionomer fillings are suitable for children with developing teeth. These filling materials contain a mix of glass and acrylic. They also contain fluoride, helping fight decay-causing bacteria and prevent dental caries from progressing.
Dental Filling Procedure
We may recommend a dental filling during your routine oral checkup. The procedure requires one visit since it is not a surgically invasive treatment.
During a filling procedure, we will administer local anesthesia to numb the area. We will then drill the affected tooth enamel and remove decayed tissue to stop further progression. We will also shape the cavity in readiness for the filling, etch, and condition the site to create a strong dental bond.
After mixing the filling material, our dentist will place it directly into the tooth crack or cavity. The final steps involve using ultraviolet light to harden the filling and remove excess material.
Benefits of Dental Fillings
Dental fillings have numerous benefits. This restorative dentistry procedure can help treat decayed or damaged teeth. Fillings repair dental caries by preventing further deterioration. They also create a barrier against decay-causing bacteria, ensuring neighboring teeth remain intact.
Depending on the material, fillings can also enhance the appearance of your teeth and restore your smile. They are also less conspicuous, and you can choose from different filling materials to mimic your natural teeth. Above all, dental fillings are more affordable and can last up to 20 years with proper care, depending on the selected material.
Caring for Dental Fillings
Tooth sensitivity is a typical symptom after getting a new dental filling. However, the discomfort should subside after a few days. Patients should continue their oral hygiene routine and schedule regular checkups to protect their teeth from further decay. Brush and floss as you would typically do for optimum oral health.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Fillings
Sometimes patients have unanswered questions about this minor dental restoration. This section answers the most commonly asked questions about dental fillings.
Does getting a dental filling hurt?
Getting dental fillings is a painless procedure. We administer local anesthesia to numb the site and make you comfortable. You might feel slight discomfort for a few days, but that should subside with time.
How long do dental fillings last?
How long dental fillings last depends on the selected material and how you care for them. Gold fillings last the longest, up to 20 years, while amalgam fillings last 10 to 15 years before requiring replacements.
Can I eat normally after getting a dental filling?
You can eat normally after getting a dental filling. We use ultraviolet curing light to harden the filling material, ensuring patients can resume their usual dental functions. However, we suggest you eat soft foods for the first few days before consuming harder solid foods.
Are there any alternatives to dental fillings?
Alternatives to dental fillings include inlays and onlays. Inlays are pre-modeled fillings inserted into a cavity, while onlays are filling placed on top of the damaged tooth surface.
Why Choose Higbee Family Dentistry for Dental Fillings?
Our dental filling treatment can help prevent cavities from progressing and causing complications. We offer various filling materials, from composite resin to gold fillings, to match your natural teeth. Contact Higbee Family Dentistry at to schedule an appointment and learn more about our dental fillings in Eugene, OR.