A cosmetic dentist has a background in general dentistry but focuses their efforts on procedures outside the realm of routine care, such as on the form of the mouth, including how the teeth and/or gums appear. Although there is a common misconception that cosmetic dentists only care about looks, they do ensure full functionality too.…
What Are the Advantages of a Dental Filling?
According to an article in Live Science, the first known dental filling was created with beeswax more than 6,500 years ago. These days, the American Dental Association believes about 175 million fillings are completed every year. Although common, there are still some misconceptions about fillings. Understanding the benefits may help you to determine if receiving one is a good treatment option for you.
The benefits of dental fillings
Many people are wary of dental fillings because of the discomfort associated with treatment. However, advances in technology have helped make the process simpler and more comfortable for patients, especially if the problem is treated early on. The use of laser dentistry has become a popular alternative to traditional drilling in some locations. Even though some minimal discomfort is to be expected, there are still many reasons that dental fillings may be the right choice for a patient.
Fillings prevent cavities from becoming larger
Left untreated, a cavity can continue to grow until the tooth is not able to be saved at all. Before a filling is placed, special tools are used to remove the decay in the tooth. Once the filling is poured, it seals the hole, protecting the remaining nerve endings and preventing further bacteria from reaching them. This also helps to prevent the pain associated with eating or drinking hot or cold items.
Fillings are a long-lasting solution
Porcelain and gold fillings can last for up to 15 years when taken care of properly. Modern fillings are resistant to corrosion, staining, chipping, and other signs of damage, which means most patients can feel better about their smiles for longer.
Fillings can be made to match natural teeth
Although they are sometimes still available, fillings no longer need to be made of silver or gold. Modern technology has made it easier for dentists to match composite or porcelain fillings to the shade of the patient's natural teeth. This is especially helpful for patients who need fillings in the front of the mouth but do not want others to know they are not natural teeth.
Fillings create stronger teeth
A dental filling can improve the structure and strength of the affected tooth as well as the ones surrounding it. The tooth is strengthened because the cavity cannot further grow. Additionally, since the affected tooth will not decay further, the ones surrounding it remain supported and maintain their strength.
Fillings improve the functionality of the teeth
Teeth are vital for chewing and swallowing food safely, not to mention speaking properly. Since filings make teeth stronger, it makes it easier for the patient to chew hard foods, drink hot or cold items, and enjoy a better diet overall. Teeth are also necessary for pronouncing some words correctly, and people who have fillings to prevent further tooth decay may speak more clearly.
Signs that you may need a filling
Sometimes, a patient can tell they need a filling right away because the decay is obvious. Other times, the need for a filling may not be as noticeable. Some signs include minor chips or fractures, floss that tears when using it on particular teeth, or sensitivity to drinking or eating anything that is not at room temperature. Dark spots, shooting pains, or food getting stuck between the teeth easily are other signs that a patient may need to ask a dentist about fillings.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of a cavity or tooth decay, see a dentist right away. If left untreated, this issue will likely worsen with time and can cause some serious dental health problems, including:
- The spread of decay to other teeth
- Broken, fractured, or crumbling teeth
- Severe pain
- The need for more extensive and invasive dental work, such as a root canal or crown
- Tooth loss
Because tooth decay can fester for weeks or months without serious symptoms, it is important to see your dentist on a routine basis. Examinations and screenings, including X-rays, can help dentists detect a cavity long before you realize it is there. Early detection can make the treatment process much easier overall.
If you suspect that a dental filling may help you with your tooth ailments, talk to your dentist about your options. Prompt treatment is important if you want to avoid more pain and serious oral health issues. This common treatment option can help improve the function and look for your teeth for a healthier smile.
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