Tooth Restorations – Fillings
A filling is a treatment for tooth decay that can slow or stop its advancement and prevent the premature extraction of a tooth. A filling is completed by removing the decayed infected tooth structure and filling the void with a composite resin or metal alloy material. Fillings are typically recommended when the tooth defect is a small to medium portion of the entire tooth. If a significant portion of your teeth is a filling, your dentist may recommend an alternative treatment to prevent premature tooth loss.
When Do You Need Fillings
You may need a filling if you are experiencing some of the following symptoms:
- If you have tooth pain or sensitivity.
- A rough, chipped, or broken tooth.
- Visible dark spots on your teeth.
- A hole in your tooth that you can see or feel with your tongue.
- You can see darkly pigmented small lines or cracks in your teeth.
Dr. Bains will also likely recommend that you get a filling to deal with any cavities if they are detected during an examination completed in conjunction with your dental hygiene therapy.
Types of Fillings
Depending on your specific condition, and the location of the filling, your dentist may make a specific recommendation for your fillings.
- Metal fillings such as gold or silver amalgam will last a very long time and they can withstand chewing and biting, but they can cost a lot upfront and can be noticeable in the mouth.
- Ceramic fillings are made most often out of porcelain and are a more natural-looking option than metal. They are also less prone to staining than the white composite resin. These fillings can last for nearly as long as metal fillings and can cost about as much.
- White composite resin fillings are a plastic and glass mixture that is great for fixing small to medium-sized cavities. These fillings are similar in colour to your tooth, but they do need to be replaced more often than some metal fillings. Composite fillings are more affordable than gold or ceramic options.
Missing, Chipped, or Damaged Fillings
Wondering what to do if you’ve chipped, lost a filling, or need a replacement filling? If you have lost a filling we recommend the following steps:
- Call or email us to schedule an appointment, or use our booking tool, as soon as you can. We will try our very best to provide you with a same-day appointment.
- If you are in pain, we recommend an over-the-counter oral pain reliever to help until you can come in for an appointment.
- While it may seem unnecessary to book in right away if you do not have discomfort, delaying or postponing treatment of a broken tooth can significantly increase the risk and complexity of treatment. If complications arise, the cost associated is also likely to increase. As a result, we encourage patients to attend to problems as soon as they are detected.
What is the Procedure for Fillings
Fillings are very routine procedures in a dental office and Dr. Bains has done many of them during her career! Here is how they’re done so you know what to expect:
- A local anesthetic will be administered to ensure the area is numb during the procedure.
- An air abrasion instrument, drill or laser will be used to remove tooth decay.
- The area will be examined and cleaned to ensure all of the decayed material has been successfully removed.
- The filling will be applied and cured.
- After the filling is cured it will need to be shaped and polished to ensure a smooth finish and natural contour.
- The dentist will then verify your bite to ensure it does not interfere with your ability to chew.
- Your filling is complete!
Is getting a filling painful?
Admittedly, getting a tooth filled can be slightly uncomfortable, but it usually does not hurt unless the cavity is large enough to approximate the nerve deep within the tooth. In general, however, a local anesthetic is applied to numb the tooth/area prior to treatment. This prevents you from feeling pain during the procedure.
Can you eat after a tooth filling?
In general, you should avoid consuming hot foods and beverages while the local anesthetic is still acting in the mouth. It is also wise to avoid chewing harder foods to ensure that you don’t accidentally bite your lip or tongue. At the end of your appointment you will be given specific instructions as they relate to your procedure.
How long does a filling last?
The lifespan of a filling can vary depending on:
- The type of material (metal, ceramic, and composite will have different schedules for replacement.)
- Your oral homecare routine and its frequency.
- Whether you grind or clench your teeth.
Tooth Restorations – Crowns
A dental crown (also called a dental cap) is a tooth-shaped prosthetic cap that is cemented over a tooth. It serves to strengthen a tooth weakened by decay, act as a support for a dental bridge, or even for cosmetic improvement to your smile.
When Would You Need Crowns?
Crowns can be a useful dental procedure to:
- Protect a badly chipped or broken tooth from further damage that could otherwise lead to premature loss.
- Protect a tooth with a very large restoration.
- Improve the appearance of deformed teeth.
- Provide support for a dental bridge.
Types of Crowns
There are four types of dental crowns that have different applications and advantages.
- Porcelain crowns are highly aesthetic and useful to provide a natural appearance and longevity to crowns in the front of the mouth.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are similar to porcelain crowns, but the porcelain is fused to a metal substructure. This class of crown is commonly used on posterior teeth.
- Gold crowns are made from an alloy of gold and other precious metals. They are extremely durable and require less tooth reduction for placement.
- Zirconia crowns are made from zirconium dioxide, a metal in the titanium family with a white appearance. It has a similar look to a porcelain crown but is much harder and therefore withstands greater bite force.
What to do if You’ve Lost a Crown or Need to Replace a Crown
If you have a chipped crown or a crown has come off one of your teeth we recommend the following steps:
- Call, email us, or use our booking tool to schedule an appointment as soon as you can. We will try our very best to provide you with a same-day appointment.
- If you are in pain, we recommend an over-the-counter oral pain reliever to manage discomfort until you can come in for an appointment.
- We also recommend using toothpaste or an over-the-counter dental cement/denture adhesive to put the crown back over the tooth to hold it in place until you are seen by a dentist.
How a Dentist Performs a Crown Procedure
If a dental crown has been recommended, here is what you can expect:
- A crown procedure typically involves two appointments.
- The first appointment is the preparation. Your tooth will be modified to have a crown under local anesthetic. Then a digital scan or impression of the teeth will be taken to ensure a proper fit of the final crown. A temporary crown will be fabricated and fitted to your tooth to protect it while you are waiting for your second appointment.
- The impression or digital scan is then sent to our dental lab so your custom crown can be created.
- The second appointment will be scheduled for after your crown has been produced by our lab.
- At your second appointment, your temporary crown will be removed to allow a fitting of your new crown. Once the adequate fit has been determined, your crown will be permanently cemented to your tooth.
- The crown will then be cemented into place.
- You now have a new crown!
How do crowns work? Are crowns dental implants?
No, crowns are not implants. Crowns are caps that are bonded to the tooth while dental implants are inserted directly into the jawbone in the mouth.
Does dental insurance cover crowns?
Yes, many dental benefit plans will subsidize a portion of the cost of a crown depending on your availability of funds, taking account of your annual plan maximum.
Can a broken dental crown be fixed?
Crowns are prone to wear and tear. If a crown is chipped, cracked or broken, book an appointment right away. It needs to be addressed as soon as possible to avoid discomfort and recurrent decay or trauma to the tooth that can complicate your care. Some types of crowns may be repaired to mitigate costs, while others may require more intensive management or even replacement.
Book Your Appointment
If you think you might be a candidate for fillings or crowns, please contact Lewis Estates Dental Clinic, or book an appointment online for an assessment with Dr. Bains and her team.