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Fillings & Amalgam Removal

Have you ever had tooth pain or realized you had a cavity? Maybe you were slightly afraid of the process.

The reality is that having a cavity filled can be a quick and painless procedure.

It’s also important to take care of cavities and other tooth abnormalities as soon as they’re discovered. Leaving a cavity untreated means that there will be an open space for bacteria to cause further harm to your teeth and for decay to worsen, and the longer the decay is present, the more extensive the repair is likely to be.

In the long run, putting off proper dental care can mean more damage to your teeth.

It's common to be worried about dental treatment if you don't know what to expect, but you might be more afraid of the process than you need to be. By learning about the process you can prepare yourself for your visit and rest assured that it won’t be painful. In fact, any discomfort you’re having will end after you’ve received treatment.

Why you may need a tooth filling

A cavity, which can also be referred to as dental caries, is the most common reason that people need fillings. Cavities are a breakdown in the enamel of the tooth caused by decay and bacteria.

Some people’s teeth are naturally more susceptible to cavities than others. There’s no shame in having a cavity. It’s just a matter of treating the tooth in a timely manner to promote better overall oral health and to minimize damage.

Good oral hygiene can also play a role in cavity prevention. You’re much more likely to avoid cavities if you brush and floss every day. It’s also important to go to your dentist for regular exams and professional cleanings to remove tartar/calculus and to manage the decay that you can’t adequately treat at home.

Fillings are often used to treat the following issues:

  • Cavities caused by decay
  • Cracked or damaged teeth
  • Damage caused by grinding or other issues
  • For replacing fillings which have fallen out or are no longer adequate

What happens when you need a filling?

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If you’ve gone a long time between exams, you might be able to see or detect the cavity yourself. You may experience discomfort with the tooth such as sensitivity or pain due to heat, cold, or sweet foods. Otherwise, during your regular exam, your dentist will assess your mouth and may inform you they’ve detect a cavity. Catching a cavity before is causes discomfort is ideal, this can mean a less extensive repair, and avoiding additional discomfort caused by the cavity while you are waiting to have your filling completed.

The process to treat a cavity or replace a filling is very simple:

  1. Examination: Your dentist will examine the area to determine whether or not you need a filling. They may also discuss the types of fillings available to treat the issue.
  2. Numbing: Prior to treating a cavity, your dentist will numb the area. This may include a topical numbing agent for the gum and then a shot to numb the gum and tooth itself.
  3. Drill or Laser Treatment: Your dentist will remove all of the decay. This may also include removing the previous filling or removing pieces of a filling that might have remained if one was damaged.
  4. Cleaning the space: Once all of the debris is removed your dentist will prepare the space, making sure no bacterial is left inside the tooth before applying the composite or filling material.
  5. Applying the filling: The composite filling material will be placed and the dentist will be able to harden the material almost instantly.
  6. Filing and polishing: After the composite hardens, your dentist will polish the tooth and make certain that there are no jagged edges or pieces of unnecessary material remaining.

It’s important to note that you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. Once the area is numb, you won’t be able to feel anything in your tooth.

If you are bothered by the sound or idea of the drill being used, we may recommend that you listen to headphones during the procedure to help minimize any anxiety from the sound.

We remove and replace amalgam fillings

Amalgam was once thought to be the best material for fillings. It lasted a long time and many patients were treated with amalgam fillings.

In recent years, it’s been found that amalgam is more likely to cause very tiny cracks in your teeth, since it doesn’t expand/contract with heat and cold like the surrounding tooth does. This can lead to new exposure to bacterial growth, which can lead to decay. Amalgam also contains lead, which is an unfavourable material to have in your mouth.

We do not use amalgam fillings and instead recommend having older amalgam fillings replaced with composite resin fillings. Composite fillings match your natural tooth colour, making the filling much less noticeable and giving the restored tooth a more appealing appearance.

Come and see us if you need a tooth filling

Do you have older amalgam fillings that you’d like replaced? Or are you here because you’re having minor discomfort and you’re worried you may have a cavity?

Schedule your appointment with Alpha Care Dental today, and let us evaluate your oral health and help with any repairs or replacements you need.

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