Fillings are a common dental treatment that are used primarily to treat tooth decay and chipped teeth. There are various types of materials that can be used to restore your teeth — traditionally metal amalgam fillings were used, but at Herndon Dental Arts we tend to use composite fillings made from a tooth-colored resin.
The area of the filling will be numbed and the tooth will be thoroughly “prepared” by removing the decay. The composite resin filling will be placed into the tooth and once it securely bonds to the tooth structure, the treatment is complete usually in one session. However, if a large volume of tooth material must be replaced, a part may be fabricated outside the mouth and later bonded to the tooth.
In order to correct any small cracks, chips, or stains, we will start by cleaning any plaque on the tooth, and the surface will be “etched” with an acidic gel that opens up tiny pores in the tooth’s surface. The gel will be rinsed off, and the composite resin chosen to match your other teeth perfectly will then be applied and sculpted over your tooth. A special light will cure the resin to ensure it has hardened and is durable. We then use a dental drill to shape it to match your other teeth.
The first benefit of composite fillings over traditional amalgam fillings is that we are able to maintain more of the natural tooth structure as the composite filling bonds much easier with it. With less tooth material moved, it means your tooth will be stronger in the long term and less susceptible to cracks.
The second benefit of composite fillings over metal amalgam fillings is that esthetically they are more pleasing as they are a natural tooth color instead of having metal in your mouth.