Dental Fillings: Everything You Need to Know for a Healthy Smile

Dental fillings come with options.

It’s estimated that 25% of adults in the US between the ages of 20 and 64 have at least one cavity. That’s a lot of people! And leaving those cavities untreated can lead to a myriad of health issues, creating a risk of infection, tooth loss, and more. Dental fillings are a common approach to treating tooth decay and keeping your oral health under control.

Do I need dental fillings? 

When the sugars present in the food and beverages we consume interact with the bacteria found in dental plaque, it leads to the creation of acids that have the ability to weaken and erode the protective layer of enamel and dentin on our teeth. Although the acid is eventually countered by the natural salts in our saliva, it can continue to harm our teeth for approximately one hour following consumption.

If you are experiencing tooth pain, or you know you have a cavity, it’s only natural to wonder, do I need dental fillings? Your dentist will assess your situation and determine the best approach. Fillings are used when you have a small hole or cavity. Crowns, on the other hand, are used to treat more severely damaged teeth. 

Here is how to know if you need a dental filling:

  • Painful teeth when eating or chewing
  • Visible holes in your teeth
  • You are experiencing dental sensitivity to hot or cold
  • You are noticing tooth discoloration
  • You have a bad taste in your mouth, but not necessarily bad breath

Dental fillings play a crucial role in preventing further decay by sealing off and protecting the affected area from bacteria and food particles that could lead to further damage. Additionally, fillings help strengthen the structure of a tooth by providing support and stability, reinforcing its integrity. Moreover, dental fillings can alleviate tooth sensitivity by covering exposed dentin, reducing discomfort caused by hot, cold, or sweet stimuli.

What are the common types of fillings?

Before we get into the types of dental fillings available today, let’s align on the reasons you might need a filling. As we mentioned earlier, dental fillings are used for smaller cavities and to fill small holes in the teeth. The typical reason that patients need fillings is because they have a cavity, their tooth is cracked or chipped, or they have an existing filling that needs replacement.

Understanding the above can make it easier to understand the types of fillings and why dentists might use one over the other. The most common types of dental fillings are:

Amalgam Fillings (Silver Fillings)

Amalgam fillings, composed of metals such as silver, mercury, copper, and tin, exhibit a silver appearance once placed, hence the name “silver fillings.” Although less common today, these fillings remain the most cost-effective option and may be selected by a dentist when prioritizing affordability for the patient’s treatment.

Gold Fillings

Gold fillings primarily consist of gold, with a combination of other metals. With a typical composition of 75% gold and 25% silver, palladium, or other minor metals, gold fillings offer durability and longevity. Dentists may choose gold fillings when seeking a highly durable option that can withstand the forces exerted during chewing (typically for the back molars) and provide a long-lasting solution.

Ceramic Fillings

Crafted from high-quality ceramic material, ceramic fillings offer a natural-looking appearance as they can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Although not as strong as gold fillings, their strength significantly increases when bonded to the tooth. Dentists may opt for ceramic fillings when prioritizing aesthetics and a seamless integration with the patient’s natural teeth. 

Composite Fillings

Composite fillings, also known as direct fillings, or tooth-colored fillings, use a tooth-colored adhesive material that is applied directly to the tooth. They are designed to closely resemble natural teeth in appearance. With a multifaceted composition that includes a light-sensitive element cured with a high-powered light, composite fillings harden and bond to the tooth. This type of filling is the most common and recommended choice due to its natural appearance and versatility. Dentists often select composite fillings for their ability to blend seamlessly with the patient’s natural teeth.

Bioclear is a dental filling alternative. 

Though the fillings explained above are highly effective in treating small cavities, a new alternative has entered the restorative dentistry market in recent years. Bioclear fillings have emerged as an excellent alternative, offering a range of benefits for patients in need of dental restorations. One notable advantage is the superior natural tooth retention provided by Bioclear, surpassing traditional tooth-colored composite fillings in strength and longevity. Additionally, Bioclear fillings excel in creating seamless and natural-looking results, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the restored tooth.

More specifically, Bioclear offers the following advantages:

  • Minimally invasive
  • Stain resistant
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Affordable
  • Corrects tooth irregularities, not just cavities

Care for your dental fillings by practicing good oral hygiene. 

To ensure the longevity and integrity of your dental fillings, it is crucial to adopt and maintain good oral hygiene practices. By prioritizing preventive measures and incorporating the following tips into your daily routine, you can effectively care for your fillings and minimize the risk of future decay:

  • Brush thoroughly. Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste. Pay special attention to the areas around your fillings to remove plaque and food particles.
  • Floss daily. Regular flossing helps remove plaque and debris from between your teeth and around your fillings, preventing the accumulation of harmful bacteria.
  • Rinse with mouthwash. Incorporate an antimicrobial mouthwash into your routine to further reduce bacteria and promote a healthy oral environment.
  • Choose a balanced diet. Limit your intake of acidic and sugary foods and beverages that can contribute to tooth decay. Select fruits, vegetables, and calcium-rich foods to promote strong teeth and gums.
  • Avoid bad habits. Refrain from chewing on hard objects, such as ice or pens, which can potentially damage your fillings.
  • Attend regular dental check-ups. Schedule and attend routine dental visits to monitor the condition of your fillings, identify any issues early on, and receive professional cleanings.

You have a choice at Valley Dental Clinic: Fillings or Bioclear 

If you have a small cavity, you have the choice of a filling or Bioclear at the best dentist in Wasilla. And, by practicing good oral hygiene, including regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, you can prevent further decay and ensure the integrity of your fillings. 

Remember, prevention is key, and a proactive approach to oral care can help you avoid more extensive treatments in the future. If you’re looking for advanced cosmetic dentistry and reliable dental fillings in Wasilla, Alaska, visit Valley Dental Clinic. Schedule an appointment today to explore the benefits of Bioclear fillings and receive personalized care from our experienced team.