A dental filling is a restoration that is specifically used to fill in an area of one or more teeth that have become decayed. Dental decay, known as a cavity, can infiltrate a tooth and cause it to become weak. Over time, the decay essentially eats into the tooth to reach the inner pulp. Before the decay is allowed to get to this point, it's removed and replaced with a tooth-colored composite resin filling.
If you ignore a cavity long enough, the tooth will require a full root canal. This can cause the tooth to become weakened over time. In order to essentially protect the tooth and get rid of the underlying decay, we recommend having a filling placed. Fillings are simple restorations that can be matched to the color of your existing smile.
In many cases, you won't know you have a cavity until you come in for an exam. During the exam, we use a special instrument to look for dark areas or soft spots in a tooth. X-rays further help us in identifying these trouble areas. If you have a cavity, it's recommended that it be filled sooner rather than later.
We first numb the area of the mouth needing the filling. The decay is removed from the tooth completely. The next step is to prep the tooth for the new composite filling. We do this by applying an etching gel into the small hole, washing it away and then packing the hole with resin. The resin is cured and hardened with a special dental light. We can place multiple fillings in the same area, and we recommend coming in for treatment as soon as it's found that you have a cavity.