Dental fillings are one of the most common restorative dentistry treatments at our Dallas practice, typically used to treat minor to moderate decay. But despite how common they are, there are many misconceptions about fillings. In part, this is due to the fact that state-of-the-art materials and methods have revolutionized restorative care.
At Lakewood Dental Group, we are proud to offer cutting-edge oral care. Our fillings are made of the latest materials. And our office is equipped with innovative technology to make treatment easier and faster than ever. Most importantly, Drs. Shaun Sigurdson and Mihil Patel have rigorous training, years of experience, and a chairside demeanor that will set you at ease.
Read more to learn the truth about dental fillings in Dallas, as well as today’s ultramodern treatments. Then contact us to schedule your restorative treatment.
Myth #1: Getting a Filling Is Extremely Painful
Many people assume that getting a filling will be a highly unpleasant experience. In reality, the process involves very little discomfort either before or afterwards. Before placing the filling, your dentist will numb your gums with a topical gel. Once you have no feeling in the area, he will administer a local anesthetic, which will keep you from having any sensation in the tooth.
Only once the anesthetic has taken effect will your practitioner remove the damaged tissue inside your tooth and start to place your filling. At Lakewood Dental Group, we use electric handpieces for this process, rather than traditional air-driven tools. Electric handpieces allow our dentists to work more precisely, and they will also make treatment easier and more comfortable for you. Plus, these tools are quieter than traditional instruments. Some patients find the sound of dental care disturbing, so this can be especially beneficial for individuals with dental anxiety.
Once your filling is in place, you may have some mild sensitivity for a few days. An over-the-counter anti-inflammatory can help, but many patients do not require any medication.
Myth #2: If You Don’t Have Pain, You Don’t Have a Cavity.
If your dentist tells you that you need a filling, and you don’t have any pain, do you really need the treatment? In all likelihood, yes!
Not all cavities cause discomfort. In fact, until decay reaches the soft pulp inside your tooth, you probably won’t feel any pain. This is partially why 27% of US adults and 15% of adolescents have untreated tooth decay.
If your dentist tells you that you have a cavity, it’s important to get it treated early on. Your filling will be smaller, and it will keep you from experiencing significant discomfort later down the road.
Myth #3: Fillings Are Only for Treating Cavities.
While fillings are most commonly used for cavities, they are a versatile restoration with several functions. These include:
- Restoring worn enamel to reduce tooth sensitivity
- Concealing dark intrinsic stains
- Filling in grooves in teeth, which are not caused by decay
- Covering chips and cracks to strengthen the tooth structure
Myth #4: Fillings Will Show Through Your Teeth.
In the past, fillings were made of silver amalgam. These metal fillings could eventually show through teeth, giving them an unsightly gray tint. But Drs. Sigurdson and Patel use modern composite resin dental fillings at their Dallas practice. These restorations can be color-matched to your teeth.
Myth #5: Dental Fillings Increase Your Risk for Other Health Problems.
The health concerns surrounding dental fillings are typically related to amalgam fillings, which are made of about 50% mercury. Mercury can cause serious health concerns, including brain and kidney defects, especially in children and unborn babies.
The FDA assures that amalgam fillings do not contain enough mercury to affect patients’ health and that these restorations are safe for non-pregnant patients aged 6 and above. At the same time, it also states that patients who already have amalgam fillings should not have them replaced, as this can release greater levels of mercury into their bloodstream. Furthermore, research about the effects of amalgam fillings on overall health is still ongoing.
Though amalgam fillings may be relatively safe, our composite fillings do not pose a health risk to any age group.
Myth #6: The Only Alternative to a Filling Is Extraction.
Some cavities are too large for a filling. But this does not automatically mean that you will need to have your tooth removed. For a very large cavity, Dr. Sigurdson or Dr. Patel may suggest a dental crown. This tooth-shaped restoration will completely cover your tooth, and it will protect it from further damage.
If infection has spread to the roots, your dentist will likely recommend a root canal. During endodontic treatment, your dentist will remove all decayed pulp from your tooth and from the roots before placing a crown.
Extraction is always a last resort. But if you do need tooth removal, we offer several options to replace missing teeth. The most advanced treatment is dental implants, which restore tooth roots, as well as the teeth themselves. In this way, they can prevent jawbone deterioration and additional tooth loss.
Myth #7: Fillings Last Forever.
Fillings are quite durable, but most will eventually need to be replaced. One research study shows that composite fillings typically last about 7 years. Another study suggests that white fillings can last an average of 10 years for patients with overall good oral health.
Of course, the longevity of dental fillings in Dallas depends on a variety of factors, including the size and location of the restoration, your eating habits, and other health conditions, such as bruxism.
If a filling is damaged or falls out, it is important to replace it as soon as possible. Bacteria will be able to get into the space, increasing the size of the cavity and possibly leading to an infection. Plus, you could experience significant pain and tooth sensitivity.
Learn More about Dental Fillings in Dallas, TX
Now that you know the truth behind the myths, are you ready for durable, lifelike fillings in Dallas, TX? Contact us today to schedule your appointment.
You can visit our online scheduling platform or give us a call at 214-827-1885.