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Dental Fillings

Rendering of teeth with 3 filling materialsNo one wants a hole in their teeth. Not only does a hole affect the appearance of your tooth, but it also compromises the tooth’s health and strength. A hole can cause several significant problems. A hole in your tooth is more commonly known as a cavity. If you have a cavity, Tim Perry, DDS can treat it with a filling.

Types of Cavities

There are three common types of cavities: root decay, pit and fissure cavities, and smooth surface cavities. Root decay is most common in adults and occurs on the root surfaces of the teeth. The reason they are so common in adults is that older individuals are more likely to be affected by gum recession and other gum issues. Pit and fissure cavities occur on the chewing surfaces of the molars, commonly those near the back of the mouth. Smooth surface cavities are ones that form on the sides of the teeth. There are also interproximal cavities, which develop between the teeth.

How Does a Filling Work?

A filling is meant to fill the hole left behind by decay. This prevents bacteria and other debris from getting trapped inside. It also functions to help restore the strength of the tooth and protect it from new decay.

How Long Does a Filling Take?

To place a filling, we first need to drill away the decay from the hole and clean it out. After doing this, then the cavity is placed. This generally requires a local anesthetic, which numbs the tooth and surrounding tissues and can take a few minutes to take full effect. The filling placement process takes, on average, about 30 minutes. Including the x-rays that are taken and talking with you about your treatment plan before your actual filling appointment, the entire process takes about an hour.

How Long Will My Filling Last?

The longevity of your filling is mainly dependent upon the type of material used. Amalgam fillings, which are made from metals, are stronger and tend to last longer. Composite resin fillings are not as strong and therefore, do not last as long. Other factors that determine the longevity of your filling include your oral hygiene habits, habits such as chewing on ice, and conditions such as bruxism.

Do Cavities in Baby Teeth Need to be Filled?

Many parents often wonder if baby teeth require fillings if the teeth only eventually fall out. Even baby teeth need to be filled in the case of a cavity. These teeth play many important roles in your child’s mouth. Decay and cavities can cause infections and premature tooth loss, which can affect the development of the adult tooth below the surface of the gums. Some baby teeth will remain in your child’s mouth for as many as 12 to 13 years before they fall out. For these teeth to do their jobs properly, they need to remain healthy until they are ready to come out on their own. For these reasons, a filling is essential in the presence of a cavity.

When a cavity forms, treatment is needed as soon as possible. For more information, call Tim Perry, DDS at (318) 322-0576 today.

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