You tried warning your child to brush and floss their teeth, but they didn’t listen. Now they have a painful cavity, and they need an extra appointment with their children’s dentist in Helena. How can you explain what fillings are? Lucky for you, we’ve put together this little guide to help. Let’s look more closely at what exactly a filling is and how to know if you need one.
What Is a Filling and Why Is It Important?
A filling is a way to restore a tooth that has been damaged by decay. When decay hurts a tooth, it eats away at the enamel, creating a hole called a cavity. During a filling procedure, your dentist will numb the area with a local anesthetic, clean the decay from the tooth, and place a filling material inside the cavity to help the tooth look, feel, and function like normal.
Fillings are important because they help prevent decay from spreading. Your dentist will remove the infected material from the tooth to keep it from reaching other areas. In addition, the filling blocks bacteria from that part of the tooth in the future.
Why Are the Types of Fillings?
In the old days, fillings used to be made of amalgam, or a mix of metals like silver and mercury. They were quite durable and lasted for decades. However, they were very noticeable as their color did not blend in with the tooth. In addition, after a few years, sometimes the color from the metal would seep into the actual tooth, staining it that shade. People also were worried about the mercury content in these fillings, so they are rarely used anymore.
These days, most dentists use what are called composite or tooth-colored fillings. They are made from a material called composite resin, which is just as strong as amalgam, but comes with a few extra benefits. Composite fillings can be shaded to match the color of the rest of the tooth. No one will even be able to tell you had dental work done. Additionally, they contain no mercury, giving parents peace of mind.
Do I Need a Filling?
The only way to know if you or your child have a cavity that needs a filling is to see your dentist. He or she will examine each individual tooth during a checkup to determine if there are any cavities. If so, he or she will craft a treatment plan that meets your needs.
If you or your child think you may have a cavity, it never hurts to call your dentist and find out. The sooner you can get a cavity filled in, the better.
About the Author
At Kalmor Dental in Helena, Montana, Dr. Matthew Coplin wants to make every visit a unique and memorable experience for your child. He does this by treating your little one as an individual and not just a number on a chart. He strives to make each kid as comfortable as possible in his care. To learn more about how he can treat your child’s cavity, contact him on his website or at (406)-442-1377.