What is a Dental Filling?
Dental fillings are a method used by dentists to repair teeth that have been damaged by bacteria or decay with any one of a number of different dental materials. Your dentist will discuss with you the various cavity filling materials and what will be the most appropriate for your particular situation. Consideration will be given to the extent of your tooth damage, where in your mouth the filling will be placed, and if you are allergic to any of the materials to be used.
Some dental fillings are made to exact specifications in a laboratory. They are the gold fillings and the porcelain fillings. The gold fillings are very durable, well tolerated by your gums, will last for decades, and require several dental appointments for completion. The porcelain fillings are referred to as inlays and onlays because they cover a large portion of your teeth, they are bonded to the cleaned out tooth area, they are resistant to stains, and are made to match the color of your natural teeth.
Other fillings are mixed in the dentist’s office and applied to the empty, sterile, tooth cavity during one office visit. These types of fillings are the silver colored, amalgam and the composite resins that are colored to match your other teeth. The silver colored fillings are strong, durable, and used for areas that are not visibly noticeable, such as your back teeth. Composite fillings are made to match the color of your teeth and used in those areas where a natural appearance is beneficial, such as your front teeth.
WHY HAVE A DENTAL FILLING?
The goal of dental fillings is to restore your teeth to their normal functioning abilities without having any pain or discomfort. According to a statement from the Mayo Clinic, a dental filling is your best treatment option for repair if your tooth decay has advanced beyond the initial stage. In the case when the decay is extensive, or there is other damage to the tooth with the decay, your dentist may recommend stabilizing the tooth by placing a cap or crown on it after the filling is complete.
WHEN IS A DENTAL FILLING NECESSARY?
Acids and bacteria in your mouth are constantly attacking a tooth’s enamel. Even with a good home dental routine and regular dental visits, the bacteria can create a hole in a tooth’s enamel which allows decay to set in. Unlike other areas of your body, a tooth cannot repair itself. A dentist is the only option for professional care. But, decay is not the only reason when a dental filling will be necessary.
Other reasons that require a dental filling are fractured teeth that allow bacteria to get inside the enamel, the loss of tooth structure due to an accident or illness, and the replacement of old fillings that have loosened or broken down over time.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A DENTAL FILLING?
At the start of your filling appointment, the dentist will numb the affected area with a local anesthetic so that you will not feel any pain. Then, the dentist will use a dental instrument to drill through the enamel to reach the decayed area and remove it. Once cleaned of decay, the tooth is then made ready to receive the cavity filling. If you need a filling that is made in a laboratory, the dentist will take an impression of your tooth for exact measurements. You will then have a temporary filling placed in your tooth until the permanent filling is ready.
Once the filling is ready, whether one from the laboratory or mixed in the dentist’s office, it will be placed in the area cleaned out by the dentist. Some fillings, such as composite resins, may be hardened with a special light that makes the filling strong. After the filling is firmly attached to your tooth, the dentist will ensure that your bite is correctly aligned with your other teeth. The dentist will then polish the tooth so that there are no rough edges to irritate the inside of your mouth or your tongue.
WILL A DENTAL FILLING HURT?
Before your dentist fills a tooth, you will be given an injection of anesthetic, which will numb the area to be worked on. That is the only pain that you will encounter during the filling procedure. Some people are more sensitive to pain and harder to dumb. When this happens, you may require more than one injection to keep the area dumb during the entire procedure.
It is not unusual to experience some pain or discomfort after the anesthetic wears off. This discomfort may last for a couple of days and can be treated with ice packs or pain medication. However, if you continue to feel some pain after 4 or 5 days, you need to call your dentist to examine the filling area to ensure that there is no problem with the filling. As reported in a dental article by the manufacturers of Crest Pro-Health Products, the three major causes of pain after a dental filling are sensitivity, allergic reaction to filling materials, and an ill-fitting filling.
If you are expeiencing discomfort when you bite down or chew, it is possible that the filling is sitting too high in your mouth and needs to be made smaller to match the fit of your other teeth. This type of adjustment can be made during one office visit. Your dentist will also thoroughly examine the area to ensure that there is not any other damage to your tooth or its nerve that was not corrected during the original filling.
WHAT IS THE COST FOR A DENTAL FILLING?
The cost of a dental filling will depend on how much decay and restoration work is required, the type of filling material used, the number of office visits, and any necessary x-rays. Another cost factor is the location where the service is being provided. As an example, the same dental service may cost more in New York City than it may cost in Hampton, Virginia. Dental insurance companies refer to this pricing system as Customary and Reasonable, which means that they will pay the average price in New York City for a service in that location, while paying a different price for the same service provided in Hampton, Virginia
The greater New York metropolitan areas are high cost living locations where dental services are more expensive than in other geographical locations. Unfortunately, dental insurance places limits on the types of covered services, they require lots of paperwork for approvals, and there are co-payments that you must meet. Enrolling in Metrodent Discount Dental Plan is the ideal solution that specializes in your local area for getting professional dental services at the lowest possible prices.
Metrodent Discount Dental Plan completely serves the needs of New York and New Jersey residents. Your discounted filling cost is listed on the plan’s What You’ll Pay page. With this plan, there is no paperwork and no insurance approval needed. The plan also helps you find a state licensed dental professional who has agreed to the discounted dental fees. Metro Dental has plans for individuals, families, and businesses. The dentists are board certified and experienced in their specialties, the savings are significant, and you’ll have the dental hygiene you deserve.
This article was reviewed and approved by a board certified dentist.