Tooth-Colored Composite Fillings
in Everett, Washington
Do you have a cavity that needs a tooth filling? Dr. Kavitha Gowda and her professional team at Perfect Smiles Dentistry are experienced at providing gentle and painless dentistry in Everett, Washington.
Take a look at the types of dental filling we offer, and feel free to book an appointment for the treatment you need.
What is a tooth filling?
Our teeth are coated with a very hard, strong material called enamel. In fact, enamel is the hardest substance in the human body – even stronger than bone. But if you don’t take good care of your teeth, the enamel may start to decay and develop a cavity.
To prevent the cavity from spreading further and causing more damage, dentists can remove any decayed material and fill the tooth to restore its natural shape and appearance. This common restorative dental procedure is what we call a tooth filling.
When do people need a tooth filling?
Signs of dental caries (the medical term for tooth decay) include:
In the early stages of decay, there may not be any obvious signs that the tooth is in trouble. Dentists are trained to look for imperfections and spot dental caries before it develops too far, which is why it’s important to have regular checkups.
If you wait until a tooth is causing you pain, this means the decay has spread further towards the center, where the nerves are. The longer you leave it before receiving treatment, the greater the chances of you needing root canal treatment – which is more lengthy and expensive than a straightforward filling.
When caught very early on, dentists can polish away decay without removing too much enamel, and apply a small filling if needed.
This minimally invasive procedure won’t require any anesthetic – and that’s another good reason to see a dentist regularly!
Different materials used in dental fillings
When dentists first began to apply teeth fillings hundreds of years ago, they used metal amalgams containing a mixture of silver, tin and mercury. Amalgam fillings are still widely used today, since they are inexpensive, strong and durable. There is one obvious downside, which is that they look nothing like natural tooth enamel.
Aside from the esthetic issues, some concerns have been raised about the possible health complications with using mercury in fillings. Although there is no conclusive evidence to support this, and the American Dental Association maintains that amalgam fillings are safe, we at Perfect Smiles have decided to go for a metal-free dentistry approach.
By using composite material for ‘white’ tooth fillings, Dr. Gowda and her team ensure that their dental restorations are safe, functional, and esthetically pleasing. Composite fillings can be precisely matched to your natural tooth color, and when polished, the material looks just like enamel.
Other tooth-colored filling materials include glass ionomer, which is typically used for temporary fillings, and ceramic, which is used in larger restorations like inlays and overlays.
Tooth filling procedure at Perfect Smiles Dentistry
If you feel apprehensive about your treatment, it may help to understand the steps involved with filling a tooth.
So, here’s a look at what exactly will happen when you visit Perfect Smiles for a tooth filling in Everett, WA.
Check-up and Diagnosis:
Before beginning any treatment, your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and ask you about any concerns.
They may also take an x-ray to check things which aren’t visible from the outside.
If it’s confirmed that you do need a dental filling, we will administer anesthetic to numb that area of your mouth. This may not be necessary with minor cavities that only require a small filling.
Cleaning the tooth:
Your dentist will use a hand-held drill and other tools to remove all the decayed material and prepare the tooth for a filling. Because the composite material we use is bonded to the enamel, the filling can be placed without affecting too much of the remaining healthy structure.
Applying the filling:
The dentist will give you a tooth-colored filling to match your natural tooth color. Soft composite material is placed in the cavity and then hardened with a blue light. It may need to be built up in layers for deeper fillings.
Shaping and polishing:
Once hardened, the material is shaped to match the natural tooth surface. The dentist will check that it fits well with the opposing teeth when you bite down. The final step is to polish the filling so it joins seamlessly with the tooth.
Are dental filling procedures painful?
At Perfect Smiles Dentistry, we take great care to ensure any dental treatment you receive is pain-free and as comfortable as possible. If the tooth decay has spread to the inside of your tooth, we will numb the area before working on the tooth. But, as noted above, smaller fillings can be performed without anesthetic and without any pain!
Recovery and aftercare
Once any anesthetic wears off, your tooth may feel sore for a few days – especially if you had a large filling.
Your dentist will let you know when it’s safe to eat and drink as normal. Since composite fillings harden under the dentist’s blue light, there is usually no need to restrict what you consume after treatment.
However, you should be careful eating if your mouth is still numb, and you might want to avoid hard or chewy foods while your tooth is still feeling sensitive after a filling.
Sometimes the bite of a new filling isn’t quite right, but you might not notice until you have regained full feeling in your mouth. If anything feels strange, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist.
Tooth fillings last longer with routine dental check-ups
Esthetic white tooth fillings can last for 5-10 years, but you can help prolong the life of your filling (and your tooth) by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting us for regular checkups. We’ll be able to spot any potential problems and treat them before they become too serious.
If you’re unsure of the best way to care for your teeth, please don’t feel embarrassed to ask! Our friendly team will be happy to show you the correct technique for brushing your teeth and flossing so that you can keep your mouth and gums in great condition.
Do you need a tooth filling in Everett, Washington?
Dr. Gowda and her team at Perfect Smiles Dentistry are proud to offer conservative dentistry procedures that keep your natural teeth as healthy as possible.
If you need a tooth filling in Everett, WA or you have other dental concerns, you’re in safe hands with us. Call now or book an appointment using the form below.