Tooth Fillings

Why do you need a tooth filling

The most common reason that you might need a filling is to repair a tooth that has a cavity. Fillings can also be used to repair minor fractures, chips and damage to the tooth’s enamel. Cavities can be painful, and if they aren’t repaired, they can lead to infections and even the loss of the tooth. If your dentist discovers one, she’ll recommend treating it right away.

What tooth fillings are made of

There are a variety of different types of filling materials available: gold, porcelain, silver-amalgam, plastic resin. At the Escondido Dental Arts we offer our patients the tooth-colored fillings (often called “composite” or “bonding”) which are a hi-tech resin or plastic material. Resin composite does not contain mercury, and is highly durable and long-lasting. The material starts out as a putty-like substance which is then hardened once it is placed in the tooth.

When do tooth fillings need to be replaced

All dental restorations have a lifespan. In the case of tooth fillings, they normally have to be replaced not because of a problem with the filling, but with the tooth surrounding it. The tooth can still get another cavity, and at the edge where the filling and the tooth meet bacteria can collect. Your home care will be very important in extending the lifespan of your tooth-colored fillings.

How tooth filling is done

  • We’ll make you as comfortable as possible.
  • Numb the area around the tooth so it won’t hurt. If you feel any pain after the area is numbed, let your dentist know. You may need more medication.
  • We’ll remove the decayed parts of the tooth. 
  • Clean all the surfaces.
  • Fill the area to create a lasting repair to your tooth.
  • If you need to have more than one tooth filled this can be accomplished in the same day. 

Tooth filling versus crown

We may recommend a porcelain crown versus a composite tooth-colored filling depending on the size of the cavity and the location of the cavity on the tooth.