Dental Fillings An Overview
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 cosmetic goals of the patient. 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 that are visible when smiling.
- Porcelain fillings: also known as an inlay or onlay, porcelain fillings provide superior strength and stain resistance as well as an aesthetically pleasing result.
Tooth decay is a common oral health issue. In fact, 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 a number of different 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 going to 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, such as 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, and 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 as well as the chewing surface of the tooth. The preparation of the tooth is similar to a dental filling, and the materials used are as well. 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 preparation of the tooth and eliminates a lot 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.