Read the information below to learn about receiving a dental filling in Colorado Springs as part of your restorative dentistry care at Schope Dental:
As early as the seventh century, Chinese dentists were filling cavities in the teeth of their patients with a mixture of tin, silver and mercury. However, they were the only civilization at that point in history to address cavities in this way. Other societies were convinced that cavities were caused by mysterious “tooth worms” that ate holes in the teeth of helpless victims. Of course, doctors and herbalists of that era had various schemes to try to defeat the mythical tooth worms, but none were very effective.
Although doctors and dentists experimented with filling cavities with various materials through the centuries, this was not a practical undertaking until the invention of the electric dental drill in the 1870s. This tool revolutionized dental care, allowing dentists to thoroughly remove diseased tissue before filling cavities. As technology has advanced over the years, filling cavities has become a routine dental procedure. Although no one looks forward to getting a filling, it is a necessary way of dealing with cavities
Why Do I Need a Dental Filling?
If your dentist has recommended that you have a dental filling, it is because you have a cavity. A cavity occurs when bacteria in your mouth create acids that attack your tooth enamel. The tooth enamel is the hard outer surface of the tooth, and it protects the inner part of the tooth. Once the enamel is eaten away by the bacterial acid, you can develop a small hole, or cavity, in the tooth. Of course, this tiny space is difficult to keep clean with normal brushing, and even more bacteria often accumulate in this spot, leading to greater decay. Cavities are one of the few body injuries that will not heal themselves, and without repairing this hole with a filling, the cavity will continue to grow larger. Eventually, the decay will reach the nerves of the tooth and cause extreme pain. Sometimes the entire tooth must be pulled if the cavity is not addressed properly.
Cavities are not an inevitable part of life for most people. By using excellent dental care, you can minimize your chances of needing a dental filling for a cavity. Having good oral hygiene is more than just brushing your teeth before bed. You should brush after each meal, floss your teeth daily, eat nutritious food and avoid sticky, sugary snacks. Parents should observe and assist small children in brushing and flossing to make sure that the teeth are getting completely clean.
However, some people with weak tooth enamel may have higher than normal chances of developing cavities. Often, this is genetic in origin and there is not much that you can do about it, other than to keep your teeth as clean as possible. If you do develop a cavity, it is nothing to be ashamed of. Dr. Betty Jo Schope repairs cavities every day, and is glad to do her part to keep your mouth as healthy as possible. The procedure usually takes less than an hour and can keep you from eventually losing a tooth.
What Will the Dentist Do When I Get a Filling?
As your dentist, Dr. Schope wants the dental filling procedure to be as quick and comfortable for you as possible. The dentist will use an anesthetic to numb your mouth so that you will not feel any pain as he works. Some people need more of this medicine than others, so you should tell Dr. Schope if at any time you begin to feel pain during the procedure.
Before Dr. Schope injects your mouth with an anesthetic, he may use a topical numbing gel to help keep you from feeling the pain of the injection. The numbing gel is applied on the end of a swab to your gums for a minute or two. Then, she will inject the gum with a needle filled with local anesthetic. Often, the numbing gel works so effectively that many people have no idea when the needle actually goes into the mouth.
Skilled dentists such as Dr. Schope can numb their patients’ mouths with very little physical discomfort for the patient. Talk to Dr. Schope before the procedure, and ask any questions that you may have about the numbing procedures that he uses. Be sure that you tell her if you have any allergies to metals or medicines or if you are pregnant or nursing a baby. Dr. Schope believes that injections and cavity fillings do not have to be painful, stressful events. Especially if your child is getting a dental filling, make sure that we will be discreet while injecting the mouth. Your child does not have to see the needles that are going to go in his or her mouth, and not seeing them will help him or her stay more relaxed and calm during this event.
After your mouth is numb, Dr. Schope will next remove the decay from the tooth. She must remove all of the diseased tissue so that it will not be trapped below the filling. Like most dentists, we use a high-speed drill to remove the decay. This drill uses a sharp tip and a stream of water to whisk away the bacterial and diseased tissue. This is the drill that emits the high-pitched whistle that is so disconcerting to most people. While the Dr. Schope is drilling, her dental assistant will use the dental suction device to remove any water and tooth tissue from your mouth.
After we feel that he has gotten most of the decay out of the tooth with the high-speed drill, we will switch to a lower speed tool. Dr. Schope can work a bit more carefully to remove every bit of decay from your tooth with this lower powered device. This tool feels more ‘bumpy’ on your tooth than the high-speed drill does.
After we remove all of the decay, we may place a liner or a base on the exposed pulp of the inner part of the tooth. This liner will be a barrier between the dental filling and the tooth’s interior, and it will help the tooth filling be less sensitive to hot and cold. After the liner is cured, the tooth is ready to be filled with the chosen filling material.
Choices of Dental Fillings
Up until just a few years ago, all dental fillings were created from a mixture of mercury and other metals, including silver, tin or copper. This mixture is called amalgam. These fillings are sometimes called silver fillings since that is their color when they are first placed in the tooth. Amalgam fillings have been in use for over a century and are the most tested and researched material used for dental fillings. Amalgam fillings are the least expensive dental filling material, but some people find the silver color unattractive. Additionally, some people have concerns about the safety of the mercury in the filling. Amalgam is the most durable kind of tooth filling material available.
Composite or resin fillings are another filling material commonly used in modern dentistry. These fillings are made from an acrylic resin that is packed like putty into the tooth cavity. The resin is then cured with a special blue light. These fillings are fairly durable and can be made to match the color of anyone’s tooth. Resin fillings are not quite as durable as the amalgam fillings and must be replaced more often. However, to the untrained eye, resin fillings are virtually undetectable and, for this reason, very popular.
After the tooth is filled and the filling is cured, your dental procedure is complete. Your mouth will probably be numb for less than an hour, but you should be careful when eating or talking immediately after the procedure. When your mouth is numb, you are more likely to bite down on the inside of your mouth or your tongue. Additionally, your tooth may be a bit sensitive for a few days as your mouth adjusts to your new filling.
After several days, you should have no lingering discomfort from your dental filling. If you bite down and feel a mound in your tooth or have a painful sensation, you should call your dentist. He can smooth down any protruding filling material with a special tool, and this should solve any remaining problems with your bite.
Getting a cavity filled may be one of the most fearsome undertakings that many adults must endure. However, when you consider the procedure step-by-step, you can see that it is a fairly minor ordeal. By learning about the process, you can conquer your fears of dental fillings, be able to eat painlessly and have a beautiful smile once again.
First Steps to Take If You Think You Need a Dental Filling
Talk with Betty Jo Schope, DDS, who is one of the most experienced dentists in Colorado Springs to learn if a dental filling is appropriate for your dental health situation. Call 719-260-8089 to get started.