Dental fillings play an important role in dentistry, remaining one of the most common dental treatments today- and one that most people will receive at some point in their lives. Although the common recommendation for a tooth cavity, a dental filling serves both restorative and cosmetic purposes for teeth that are decayed and/or damaged.
Dr. Brent Engelberg and Dr. Mullarkey use a range of quality materials for placing dental fillings, depending on the size and location of the affected tooth and the patient’s cosmetic goals. In most cases, they will recommend a composite resin, or white, filling for an aesthetically pleasing result that will provide both durability and protection from future decay.
Types of Dental Fillings
- Amalgam or silver fillings: the traditional material used for dental fillings, amalgam remains widely used today for its durability and reasonable cost.
- Gold fillings: a costly dental filling alternative, gold is an option for larger back teeth with varied biting surfaces because of its strength and lasting durability.
- Composite resin: also called a white filling, the composite resin is also a durable material that’s e color-matched for a natural-looking result, especially for teeth visible when smiling.
- Porcelain fillings, also known as an inlay or onlay, provide superior strength, stain resistance, and an aesthetically pleasing result.
Tooth decay is a common oral health issue. Nearly all of us will develop a cavity at some point. However, this is also a very preventable oral health issue. With the right steps, you can take preventive action and potentially avoid the onset of a cavity completely. There are many ways to avoid tooth decay, from proper brushing and flossing to routine dental cleanings.
Tips for Avoiding Tooth Decay
- Brush every day: When you brush your teeth correctly, you remove plaque from the surface, which reduces the risk of tooth decay. You should brush for two minutes each session, once in the morning and again before bed. Be sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride and the ADA seal of approval on the packaging.
- Floss correctly: Flossing removes food caught between teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach. This prevents bacteria from breaking down the bits of food, which increases oral acidity and plaque buildup. Flossing not only decreases the risk of cavities but periodontal disease as well.
- Cut back on sugary foods and drinks: Foods and drinks with high amounts of sugar and/or a high acidic content can be dangerous for your smile. Instead, drink more water and try healthier snack options like nuts, fresh fruit, vegetables, or low-fat yogurts.
- Don’t ignore discomfort: If you notice a persistent toothache or tooth sensitivity, don’t ignore the issue. Instead, see your dentist for a diagnosis. These are common warning signs of a cavity; ignoring them can increase the risk of infection.
- See your dentist regularly: You should see your dentist about once every six months. The doctor can identify the earliest warning signs of decay and treat the issue before it progresses and harms your oral health.
Inlays and Onlays
Sometimes, a dental filling isn’t enough to support a severely decayed or damaged area of your tooth, but you don’t need the support of an entire dental crown. This is where inlays and onlays come in. They’re a solution that bridges the gap between dental fillings and dental crowns to treat large areas on the tooth.
Inlays are used on the chewing surface of the tooth, between the cusps. Onlays take on the cusps and the chewing surface of the tooth. The preparation of the tooth is similar to a dental filling, and the materials used are also. A tooth-colored material is used so that it blends in with your smile.
We want to provide you with the most stable restoration possible. Dental fillings can sometimes be too fragile to support the decayed area properly. Inlays and onlays also help avoid the need for a dental crown. A dental crown requires extensive tooth preparation and eliminates much of the tooth structure. Inlays and onlays provide a happy medium.
Your Dental Visit
Dr. Engelberg or Dr. Mullarkey will recommend the most suitable option(s) for your unique dental health needs and cosmetic concerns and place your dental filling in their Arlington Heights dentist office. Engelberg and Mullarkey are experienced cosmetic and restorative dentists. They use high-quality ceramic or porcelain materials for all dental restorations, including inlays and onlays.
What to Expect
The process will require two visits to our Arlington Heights dentist office.
Your restorative procedure will begin by preparing the tooth surface. The dentist removes any tooth decay and takes impressions to fabricate your custom inlay or onlay. A temporary restoration may be placed until the final one is ready.
The dentist places the final restoration at the second visit and permanently secures it for a comfortable fit. With proper dental care, your inlay or onlay will last many years.
Pain-Free Dental Fillings
Dr. Engelberg and his staff can use the DentalVibe injection system and an anesthetic wand to ensure that you experience as little discomfort as possible during your dental filling procedure. Even patients with an extreme fear of needles will find they hardly feel a thing with this technology.
The anesthetic wand provides a more comfortable, accurate delivery of a local anesthetic for patients. It has fewer side effects, such as residual numbness in other parts of the mouth.
Dental Fillings FAQs
What is the lifespan of dental fillings?
Dental fillings’ lifespan depends on the material they comprise and the patient’s oral health. They are most commonly made out of composite materials that match your teeth and enamel so that they match your teeth, which should be between 10-12 years. Some made of metal can last longer, but they have become less popular.
Do dental filling procedures hurt?
Dental fillings do not involve areas of the mouth that contain nerves, so you shouldn’t feel any more pressure in your mouth. Numbing products are typically applied so that patients feel no pain. You can feel the tools’ and dentist’s pulling and movement throughout the procedure. Sometimes patients may feel pain when the filling is deep and near the nerve, but that is not common, and more numbing agents are used for more serious fillings.
How long does it take to fill a cavity?
The amount of time it takes to fill a cavity varies on the severity, size, and spot that the cavity is in. Usually, it takes around 15 minutes to an hour to complete the procedure. Cavities are commonly found in pairs or sets of three, so multiple cavities and procedures may be completed in one sitting. This can cause a longer appointment length than expected.
What happens internally when you get a dental filling?
Before beginning any dental filling procedure, dentists typically numb the tooth and surrounding area to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Then he will drill a hole in your tooth to remove any decay and replace it with the filling.
Can I get multiple fillings in one sitting?
Yes, most dentists will do multiple fillings in one appointment. However, they’ll most likely give you a limit. We’ll unlikely perform more than four fillings in one sitting. Your body can only take so much. A dental filling is still a medical procedure and it still takes a toll on your mouth. We want to give it time to heal and rest.
Do I need a dental filling?
Dental fillings treat cavities and areas of tooth decay on your teeth. When cavities get severe, you can see the holes and dark areas that indicate tooth decay. If it doesn’t get to this point, new pain and sensitivity are the biggest indicators of tooth decay. If you start to experience this, especially if you notice it in a particular spot.