Fillings are used to restore function and shape to a tooth after removing an area of decay. Tooth-colored fillings are used to both restore function but also to change the look of your smile. Our fillings are made of a strong composite material that we shape and color to match the shapes and shades of your surrounding teeth. We have a palette of around 35 different colors that we use to find the right shade for each filling. If the tooth does not have much structure left, due to decay and old fillings, a crown can then be made.
First, your dentist will numb the area around your tooth with a local anesthetic. Then we use a drill to remove the decay and a special stain to ensure all the decay is gone. We then clean your tooth and place the filling, sometimes in layers, to fill the place of the removed decay so that your tooth retains its shape. After placing the filling, we color it so that it blends in and looks natural next to your real tooth structure. We’ll then use an ultraviolet light to cure, or harden, your new filling. After hardening the filling we then shape and adjust the bite and polish of your new filling so that it looks and fits great in your mouth.
Your filling will be ready for normal chewing immediately but you should wait for the anesthetic to wear off so that you don’t bite your tongue, cheeks, or lips. Waiting for 24 hours before chewing heavily on foods such as chips, hard bread, or gum is always best.
Your gum tissue and site of anesthesia may be sore for several days. A warm salt-water rinse or mild anti-inflammatory such as Advil will help to relieve discomfort. It is normal if your tooth is sensitive to temperature or chewing following a new filling. If this does not improve within the first few weeks, please contact us, as an adjustment may be needed. If the decay was deep you may experience a “toothache” pain. This is not normal and may require further treatment.
To maintain your filling, good oral hygiene[link] and a regular visit to your hygienist for cleanings are required. While our bonded fillings generally hold up very well, occasionally a small piece may chip off. If this happens, we can usually repair it without replacing the entire filling.