When Dental Fillings Are Needed, Benefits, & More

Dental fillings are like unsung heroes in the realm of restorative dental care. These small restorations play a crucial role in maintaining oral health and preventing further decay or damage. As a result, fillings are one of the most popular dental treatments provided today. Fillings are an ideal way to protect natural teeth and prevent […]

Dental fillings are like unsung heroes in the realm of restorative dental care. These small restorations play a crucial role in maintaining oral health and preventing further decay or damage. As a result, fillings are one of the most popular dental treatments provided today.

Fillings are an ideal way to protect natural teeth and prevent even more costly treatments in the future. But timing is everything. If you could benefit from fillings, contact Lakewood Dental Group in Dallas, TX, today. The faster we address dental issues, the less you have to worry about. Get started by dialing (214) 827-1885 now! 

In many cases, dentists rely on teeth fillings as a first line of defense against developing dental issues. So, let’s dive into the world of dental fillings, exploring what they are, why they’re essential, and how to care for them.

Understanding Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are like tiny repair kits for teeth that have been hurt by decay, cavities, or accidents. Their job is to fix up the tooth and make it strong again while stopping any more decay or damage. 

They’re made of different materials (like silver, plastic, or even porcelain), and each type has its own special qualities. 

Fillings help you:

  • Chew and talk properly
  • Prevent toothaches
  • Keep your smile looking great

Taking care of them means:

  • Brushing and flossing regularly
  • Avoiding hard foods
  • Seeing your dentist for check-ups

So, by taking care of your fillings, you can keep your teeth healthy and strong!

Types of Fillings

There are several types of dental fillings, each with its own unique characteristics. Let’s explore some common types now:

Amalgam Fillings

These are traditional silvery-colored restorations made from a concoction of metals, including silver, copper, mercury, and tin. While it may be a bit alarming to see mercury as a key ingredient in these fillings, the FDA has announced its safety in amalgam fillings, making them safe for all patients aged six and older.

Amalgam fillings are durable and cost-effective.

However, their conspicuous appearance has led to a decline in their popularity in recent years.

Composite Fillings

Made from a mixture of plastic and fine glass particles, composite fillings are tooth-colored and blend seamlessly with natural teeth

Because they assimilate into the smile so well, they are highly versatile. This means that patients can pursue them for both front and back tooth repair.

While they may not be as strong as amalgam fillings, composite fillings bond directly to the tooth, providing excellent support and durability.

Porcelain Fillings (Inlays and Onlays)

These are custom-made fillings that must be made in a dental laboratory and then bonded to the tooth. 

Porcelain fillings are highly aesthetic and durable, making them an excellent choice for visible areas of the mouth. Inlays are used to fill cavities within the cusps of the tooth, while onlays are used to cover the entire biting surface.

Glass Ionomer Fillings

Dental professionals make these fillings from a mixture of glass and acrylic, but there’s something very special about these fillings. The chemical composition of these restorations releases fluoride once bonded to the teeth, which helps prevent further decay

While not as durable as other types of fillings, dentists often use glass ionomer fillings for baby teeth or non-load-bearing areas of the mouth.

Gold Fillings

Gold fillings are highly durable and biocompatible, making them an excellent choice for patients with metal allergies. 

However, their high cost and conspicuous appearance have limited their popularity.

The Primary Reasons to Get Dental Fillings

The importance of dental fillings cannot be overstated. Here are some primary reasons why getting dental fillings is essential:

Preventing Further Decay 

Unattended cavities can lead to further decay and infection, eventually resulting in tooth loss. Dental fillings halt the progression of decay, preserving the tooth’s true shape and function.

Restoring Tooth Function 

Cavities and tooth damage can compromise the functionality of the tooth, making it difficult to chew and speak properly. Fillings restore the systemic integrity of the tooth, allowing for normal function.

Alleviating Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is a common symptom of cavities and dental erosion. Fillings cover exposed dentin, reducing sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweet stimuli.

Enhancing Aesthetics

Tooth-colored fillings (such as composite and porcelain fillings) restore the appearance of the tooth, enhancing the smile’s aesthetics. This is particularly important for visible areas of the mouth.

Preventing Tooth Fractures

Cavities weaken the natural form of teeth, increasing the risk of fractures and cracks. Fillings provide reinforcement, reducing the likelihood of fractures and preserving the tooth’s integrity.

Cost, Longevity, and Maintenance of Dental Fillings

The price of dental fillings can change depending on factors like:

  • The kind of filling material chosen
  • The dimensions of the cavity
  • The dentist’s location and level of experience

On average, amalgam fillings are the most affordable option, while porcelain fillings tend to be the most expensive due to their custom fabrication process.

In terms of longevity, dental fillings can last anywhere from five to 15 years or more, depending on various factors, such as:

  • Oral hygiene practices
  • The location of the filling
  • The type of material used
  • Regular dental check-ups 

To maintain dental fillings and prevent complications, it’s essential to:

  • Practice Good Oral Hygiene: Flossing and brushing daily help get rid of plaque and bacteria, reducing the risk of decay and gum disease around the filling.
  • Avoid Hard Foods: Chewing on tough foods or objects (such as ice or pens) can damage dental fillings and increase the risk of fractures.
  • Attend Regular Dental Check-ups: Yearly dental visits allow practitioners to monitor the condition of fillings and detect any signs of deterioration early on.
  • Address Grinding or Clenching: Bruxism (teeth grinding) can put far too much pressure on dental fillings, leading to premature wear and damage. Dentists may recommend wearing a nightguard to protect the teeth while sleeping.

Affordable Dental Fillings in Dallas, TX

Teeth fillings play a vital role in maintaining oral health and preserving the natural form of teeth. Ready to see how fillings can enhance your smile? Contact Dr. Mihir Patel, Dr. Shaun Sigurdson, and our friendly team at Lakewood Dental Group. You can reach our Dallas dentists here or at (214) 827-1885 for appointments and more!

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