Dental Fillings in Austin, TX
More than half of kindergartners in Texas have already experienced tooth decay. However, decay is not just a problem for kids: 96% of American adults aged 65 years or older have had a cavity. While preventable, tooth decay is the most common health condition globally. The purpose of dental fillings is to fill cavities, halting decay before it becomes a larger issue.
At Aspire Dental, our approach to dental fillings prioritizes your comfort and oral health. We offer a range of options for restoring function to damaged teeth, including tooth-colored composite fillings for a natural appearance and effective cavity treatment.
Signs You May Need a Dental Filling
Dental cavities are caused by decay. They develop when bacteria in your mouth create tiny holes in your teeth. If not treated promptly, these holes can grow, causing pain and more damage. Dental fillings stop the decay from getting worse.
You might need a filling if you notice:
- Toothaches, sensitivity, or pain with no obvious cause
- Sensitivity to sweets or hot and cold foods
- Visible holes or pits in your teeth
- Pain when you bite or chew
- Bad breath or taste in your mouth
- Stains on your teeth that appear black, white, or brown
Even if you don’t notice these symptoms, regular dental check-ups help us spot early signs of decay. When we catch cavities early, we can often reverse them with proper oral hygiene. If a cavity has already formed, we can use fillings to stop it from advancing. However, when left untreated, a small cavity can become a bigger and more expensive problem.
The Importance of Dental Fillings
Dental fillings are essential for maintaining oral health by halting the progression of tooth decay, preserving the structure of affected teeth, and preventing more extensive and costly dental procedures.
Neglecting to treat a cavity can lead to a cascade of oral health problems. An untreated cavity will continue to grow, causing increasing pain and discomfort. As it progresses deeper into the tooth, it can result in infection, marked by significant pain and swelling. If the issue isn’t treated with a root canal, the cavity’s bacteria can spread to adjacent teeth, elevating the risk of further decay. Untreated infections can also evolve into painful dental abscesses, posing additional health risks if the infection spreads to other parts of your body.
In serious cases, you may lose the damaged tooth. While our goal is to prevent tooth loss whenever possible, if you do lose a tooth from decay or other factors, we can replace it here at Aspire Dental with mini dental implants.
Overall, postponing cavity treatment can lead to compromised oral health, escalating expenses, and unnecessary suffering. To avoid these complications, it’s essential to address cavities promptly through regular dental visits and dental fillings.
Types of Fillings
Dental fillings are made from various materials, including silver, gold, composite, and ceramics. Some of the most common fillings are the traditional silver (amalgam) fillings and the more modern white composite fillings.
Silver amalgam fillings consist of a blend of metals, including silver, tin, zinc, copper, and mercury. Their standout features are their durability and low cost. However, silver fillings are easily visible in the mouth—a significant drawback for individuals looking for a more discreet solution. It’s also worth noting that certain high-risk populations, such as young children, pregnant or nursing women, individuals allergic to filling components, or those with specific medical conditions, may need to avoid silver fillings due to safety concerns associated with mercury content.
On the other hand, tooth-colored composite fillings are crafted from a resin material made from acrylic and powdered glass. This resin material is color-matched to your natural teeth, providing a natural and understated appearance that no one will be able to detect. Composite fillings have additional advantages that make them a dental filling option. Read on to learn more.
The Benefits of Composite Dental Fillings
Tooth-colored dental fillings offer several key benefits:
- Natural appearance: Composite fillings are custom-made to match the shade of your natural teeth. This means they blend seamlessly with your smile and are virtually indistinguishable from your real teeth, making them an excellent choice for cavities in visible areas.
- Preserve tooth structure: Unlike traditional silver fillings, composite fillings require less removal of healthy tooth structure during placement. This means more of your natural tooth is preserved, contributing to its long-term health and strength.
- Strengthen the tooth: We bond the composite material directly to your tooth in layers, effectively reinforcing the tooth’s structure and preventing fractures. This added strength can help prolong the life of the treated tooth.
- Safe alternative: Tooth-colored composite fillings are mercury-free, offering a safer choice for those concerned about potential mercury exposure. The composite material is biocompatible and suitable for individuals with sensitivities or allergies.
- Long-lasting: Proper care and regular dental check-ups help make composite resin fillings durable and long-lasting. These fillings can withstand the daily wear and tear of chewing and biting, making them a reliable option for restoring teeth.
- Resist temperature changes: Tooth-colored fillings are designed to resist temperature changes in the mouth, expanding and contracting at a rate similar to natural teeth. This minimizes the risk of cracks or fractures due to temperature fluctuations.
The Filling Procedure
The dental filling procedure is a common treatment that repairs teeth affected by decay. We will start the procedure by administering a local anesthetic to numb the area around the affected tooth, ensuring you won’t feel any pain during the treatment. Next, we will use specialized dental instruments to remove the decayed or damaged portion of the tooth. Once the tooth is cleaned and prepared, we will fill the resulting space with the filling material. The entire procedure typically takes less than an hour to complete.
If you opt for a tooth-colored filling, we will match the resin material to the shade of your natural teeth to create a seamless and natural appearance. We apply the filling material in layers and harden each layer with a curing light. After placing the filling, we will check for proper fit and make any necessary adjustments. At the end of your treatment, you will have a restored and healthy tooth.
With regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene practices, you can ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your filling.
Preventing Future Cavities
While we have the means to restore damaged teeth, our first priority is helping you prevent the formation of cavities in the first place. Preventing cavities begins with maintaining excellent oral hygiene practices. This includes brushing your teeth thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and flossing daily to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth.
Also, you should limit your consumption of sugary and acidic food and drinks, as these can contribute to cavity development. Consider chewing sugar-free gum after meals when you can’t brush your teeth, and if you have a dry mouth, use products that promote saliva production. Following these steps can significantly reduce your risk of cavities and help maintain a healthy smile.
In addition to the habits you practice at home, regular cleanings at Aspire Dental are crucial for catching and addressing any early signs of decay.
Protect Your Teeth with Dental Fillings
Dental fillings relieve painful symptoms such as toothaches and sensitivity, enhancing your overall well-being. With modern tooth-colored fillings, you can restore your oral health discreetly and effectively.
Choosing Dr. Hall and Dr. McNeil for your dental filling ensures a stress-free experience. Their compassionate and patient-centered approach, combined with a commitment to educating and comforting those with dental phobias, makes them the ideal choice for a relaxed and painless dental visit.
At Aspire Dental, we’re here to safeguard your smile. If you have any signs of decay or need a filling, contact us today.