A filling repairs and restores the surface of a tooth that has been damaged by decay, fracture, or wear. A dental filling strengthens the tooth. If tooth decay is not repaired at its early stages, it will worsen and additional or alternative dental treatments may be necessary.
With proper care and routine oral hygiene, a filling has a lifespan of 5-12 years, depending upon the type of filling material used.
After a thorough exam of your teeth, gums and supporting bone structure, your Dentist will discuss treatment options with you and answer your questions. If the agreed-upon treatment is a dental filling, your Dentist will:
- Apply a local anesthetic to the affected area of your mouth
- Use a hand-held instrument to prepare your tooth by removing the decayed or damaged tooth surface
- Cleanse the prepared tooth to remove debris and bacteria
- Isolate the tooth using a small, protective sheet called a «dental dam» to keep it clean and free of saliva during your procedure
- Select the dental filling material based on the placement of the tooth, the location of the damaged area of the tooth, and the extent of its surface damage
- Apply adhesives and filling material to the prepared area and shape it to match the look and feel of a natural tooth
- Expose a special hand-held light to the filling material to harden the repaired surface of your tooth
After your tooth or dental implant has been prepared and shaped for a crown:
- A putty-like material is used to make impression of your prepared teeth. Your crown will be fabricated for a precise fit based on this impression.
- You will be fitted with a temporary crown to protect your tooth/implant and gums until your permanent crown has been fabricated.
- During a second office visit, your Dentist will fit your permanent crown and bond it to your tooth or dental implant.