Repair & Restore
A filling repairs and restores the surface of a tooth that has been damaged by decay, fracture, or wear. A dental filling strengthens the tooth. If tooth decay is not repaired at its early stages, it will worsen, and additional or alternative dental treatments may be necessary. With proper care and routine oral hygiene, a filling has a lifespan of 5-12 years, depending upon the type of filling material used.
A filling is recommended when:
- The surface enamel of a tooth is damaged due to decay, fracture, or wear.
- A tooth’s surface needs to be evened out to improve your ability to bite or chew.
After a thorough exam of your teeth, gums and supporting bone structure, your Dentist will discuss treatment options with you and answer your questions. If the agreed-upon treatment is a dental filling, your Dentist will:
- Apply a local anesthetic to the affected area of your mouth
- Use a hand-held instrument to prepare your tooth by removing the decayed or damaged tooth surface
- Cleanse the prepared tooth to remove debris and bacteria
- Isolate the tooth using a small, protective sheet called a “dental dam” to keep it clean and free of saliva during your procedure
- Select the dental filling material based on the placement of the tooth, the location of the damaged area of the tooth, and the extent of its surface damage
- Apply adhesives and filling material to the prepared area and shape it to match the look and feel of a natural tooth
- Expose a special hand-held light to the filling material to harden the repaired surface of your tooth
Bonding is a common solution for:
- Fixing or repairing chipped or cracked teeth
- Reducing unsightly gaps or spaces between teeth
- Hiding discoloration or faded areas on the tooth’s surface Often, composite bonding is used to improve the appearance of your teeth and enhance your smile. As the name indicates, composite material, either a plastic or resin, is bonded to an existing tooth. Composite bonding has many advantages:
- It is a quick process, which typically takes less than one hour.
- It does not reduce the tooth’s original structure and is relatively inexpensive.
- Composite resins come in many different shades and provide better matching of shades to the natural color of your teeth.
- Composite bonds, however, are not as durable and long-lasting as veneers and crowns and may need to be re-touched or replaced in the future.
Composite bonds stain more easily and therefore require proper care and regular cleaning. In order to ensure the longest possible duration of the bonding, composites should be brushed and flossed daily. Common staining elements include coffee, tea, tobacco, certain foods and candy.