A dental filling is one of the most common dental treatments used today to address tooth decay or tooth damage. It is used as part of a conservative treatment plan aimed at preserving the natural tooth structure. Your local dentist in Durham NC, Dr. Blaylock will perform a tooth filling when a tooth is weakened due to cracks, chips, breaks, cavities, or other reasons.
The filling is intended to not just restore dental health, but to protect the tooth from future damage or decay. There is a range of materials available for dental fillings, depending on the location and desired cosmetic result.
Dental Fillings in Durham NC
A dental filling is typically completed during a single visit to our dentist office in Durham, NC. Dr. Blaylock will recommend the appropriate material to be used for the filling after a thorough examination to determine the condition of the affected tooth. Most patients prefer cosmetic, or “white” fillings for their aesthetics, especially if the filling will be visible when smiling.
Dental Filling Procedure
Most dental fillings are completed in a single visit, with the exception of porcelain and gold fillings which are fabricated in a local dental lab. Using a local anesthetic for your comfort, Dr. Blaylock will prepare the affected tooth, removing any decay, existing fillings, or enough tooth structure to place the filling when repairing a damaged tooth.
For a resin filling, Dr. Blaylock will place the material in the affected tooth and then cure it with a special light. Your resin tooth filling should last for about five to seven years with good oral hygiene and routine dental care.
If the filling is being fabricated in a lab, 2-3 visits may be necessary to complete the process. At the first visit, Dr. Blaylock will take dental impressions, prepare the tooth and place a temporary filling if necessary.
Inlays and Onlays
Sometimes tooth decay can be too vast for a filling to tackle but isn’t enough to require a full dental crown. Inlays and onlays fill the gap between these two dental solutions. Inlays fill in the chewing surface of the tooth. Onlays treat the biting surface of the tooth as well as the cusps. Because of the area they cover, they’re also known as partial crowns. Like dental fillings or crowns, porcelain or composite resin material is used for the restoration.
The dentist talks to you about the best option to restore your tooth. We recommend preserving natural tooth structure as much as possible. A dental crown requires your tooth to be shaved down and prepared to make room for the dental crown. Inlays and onlays allow us to preserve more of that natural tooth structure while ensuring that your tooth is still stable and reliable.
Dental Filling FAQs
Why do I need a dental filling?
Most patients need a dental filling because they suffer from tooth decay. Tooth decay is caused by plaque that is left on the teeth. This will eventually eat away at the tooth enamel and create tiny holes in your teeth. If the decay is not treated, it will continue to damage the tooth. If caught early, your dentist will simply remove the portion of decay and place a filling.
How long will my dental filling last?
No matter what type of filling you get, it will not last forever. Most ‘white fillings’ will last about five years however they can last a lot longer with proper oral health.
What is the best type of filling?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution in dentistry. Dr. Blaylock will evaluate your condition and recommend the best choice for your situation. Dr. Blaylock often recommends “white fillings” made of either composite resin or ceramic material for a natural-looking restoration.
Do you fix broken fillings?
If you have a lost or broken filling, contact our office to schedule an appointment. We make all attempts to see patients for dental emergencies on the same day.
Dr. Blaylock will provide prompt attention to repairing the damaged tooth and restoring the dental filling. Please do not attempt to glue the filling to your tooth as you could cause further damage.
Can you replace my metal fillings with white fillings?
In some cases, Dr. Blaylock may be able to remove an old metal filling and replace it with a more natural-looking “white filling”. If the tooth’s structure has been compromised, it may be best to restore it with a dental crown that will cover the tooth like a cap.
Schedule an Appointment
Do you have a tooth cavity in need of a dental filling? Give your dentist in Durham, NC a call at 919-518-9963, or request an appointment online today.