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Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are used to restore a tooth that has developed a cavity or has been eroded away from trauma. A cavity is a tiny hole of decay that forms in the enamel of the tooth due as a result of factors like poor dental hygiene, age, lifestyle factors or genetics. When a cavity develops, a filling is required to restore the durability and health of the tooth; it will not heal on its own. Left untreated, cavities will worsen and can lead to infection and even tooth loss.

Because cavities are difficult to detect on their own, it’s important to schedule twice-yearly dental checkups with Castle Dental. In addition to a long list of accepted dental insurances, we also offer our OneSmile plan, which includes free exams and X-Rays as well as discounted teeth cleanings and treatments for one low annual rate. Regular visits mean your dentist is more likely to detect cavities early, making the filling process faster and easier!

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Do I need a dental filling?

If your dentist has discovered any decay during your oral checkup, he or she will recommend a filling treatment.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may need a filling. 

  • Sensitivity to hold or cold foods or drinks
  • Unsightly dark spots on the surface of the tooth
  • Sharp pain when biting down 
  • Dull but constant aching in a particular area
  • Consistently bad breath

Not all cavities cause all of these symptoms. You may not be experiencing any of them. However, cavities can still be present, making dental checkups critical for early prevention. At Castle Dental, we can use advanced tools and the latest technology to identify decay long before symptoms present and keep it from worsening. 

Occasionally, problems other than cavities can require the treatment of a filling. A filling may be recommended to treat other dental issues like a chipped tooth or erosion caused by teeth grinding. Not only can fillings restore the tooth, but they can add support and durability to the tooth to prevent the issues from reoccurring. 

What can I expect during my filling appointment?

Dental fillings can last anywhere from twenty minutes to one hour, depending on the size and severity of the cavity. If you have multiple dental issues that need to be resolved using a filling, your dentist may recommend treating all the issues in one session.

  • Your filling appointment will begin with your dentist applying a numbing gel to the gums to prepare it for an injection of local anesthesia. Once injected, the tooth and the surrounding tissue will go numb.
  • Once the anesthesia has taken effect, your dentist will begin cleaning out the decayed and damaged tooth material. Though you may feel a bit of pressure or vibrating this should not be painful. 
  • The newly cleaned-out hole will then be sterilized with a fluoride solution to prevent further decay. 
  • Next, materials such as gauze or cotton wedges will be packed around the tooth to isolate the area and protect the surrounding teeth from the filling material. 
  • Your dentist will then use specialized tools to pack the filling material into the cavity. 
  • Depending on the type of filling material chosen, a UV light may be used to cure the material.
  • The filling will be smoothed and shaped to preserve your bite and ensure there aren’t any sharp edges.

What are the options for dental filling materials?

Historically, fillings have always been made from metal, typically gold or silver. While these were effective and durable, most people do not prefer the way they look. Now, there are more natural looking options to choose from, some of them just as strong and durable. You and your dentist will determine which option is best for your oral health, confidence and budget. 

  • Composite Resin Fillings – These fillings are made using an epoxy material infused with silica or ceramic. These additives increase the durability and strength of the epoxy. 
    • Pros – Resin can be color matched making them blend seamlessly with your natural teeth. They are a great choice for visible teeth and large cavities. 
    • Cons – They are not as durable as metals and may need to be replaced every ten years or so. Additionally, they are prone to staining over time. 
  • Metal Amalgam Fillings – These fillings are made up of either gold, silver or a blend of several metals. 
    • Pros – Metal is the most durable option, while gold fillings can last decades. They are a great option for cavities located in the molars. A silver filling is also the most affordable option. 
    • Cons – They are not natural looking at all. Silver fillings tend to get darker over time and unfortunately, many people find them to be unsightly. Another disadvantage is that gold fillings are typically very expensive. 
  • Porcelain Fillings – Porcelain fillings are very durable and often used to fill large cavities or cavities on the wall of a tooth rather than on the top of the tooth. 
    • Pros – They can be color matched and are stain resistant. 
    • Cons – Aside from a gold filling, they are the most expensive option. They are also made in a lab which generally requires the treatment to extend over the course of two appointments.

How can I care for and preserve my dental filling?

Upon returning home from your filling treatment, you can expect the numbing sensation to wear off in a few hours. You may have some soreness from holding your jaw open but there should be no sharp or distinct tooth pain. Occasionally, some patients may experience temperature sensitivity, especially if the cavity was large; however, this should subside within a week or two. 

Caring for your filling is as easy and important as caring for your other healthy teeth. Consistent and good dental hygiene habits are the key to a healthy smile and long lasting fillings. You should brush at least two times a day and floss at least once a day. This will keep sugar and bacteria from accumulating in the mouth, preventing more cavities and preserving the filling. 

You should also schedule twice-annual dental checkups. When your dentist sees you on a regular basis, they are able to become acquainted with your particular dental needs and catch any irregularities, such as newly formed cavities. 

If, for some reason, your filling does become an issue for you, call your dentist immediately to set up an appointment.

Some signs that your filling may need to be looked at might include:

  • Discomfort while brushing and flossing
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A cracking or splitting feeling in the filling
  • Pain when applying pressure, such as biting down
  • Sensitivity at the tooth lasting more than two weeks
  • Discoloration of the enamel surrounding the filling

If a problem does exist with your new filling, it can likely be removed and carefully refitted with a new filling. If left untreated, decay could set in again, leading to infection, which could result in much more costly treatments such as root canal therapy or extraction. 

How much does a dental filling cost?

Many factors contribute to the cost of filling. The size of the cavity, the type of filling material used, and the location of the tooth can all have an effect on the price of treatment.

In general, you could expect to pay:

  • Between $50-$100 for silver amalgam fillings
  • Between $90-$250 for composite resin fillings
  • Between $250 – $4,500 for porcelain or gold fillings

However, fillings are considered to be a preventative and restorative dental treatment, so most major dental plans will cover part or all of the expense. If you don’t have insurance, membership in our OneSmile Dental Plan could save you hundreds with 20-40% off most treatments. Check with the Castle Dental location nearest you for exact pricing.

Protect Your Smile with Castle Dental

With flexible scheduling options, a comprehensive list of services, and exceptional customer care, it’s easy to make Castle Dental your family’s preferred dental care provider. We work hard to ensure every appointment is as convenient and comfortable as possible and that you receive the care you need at an affordable price.

If you’re experiencing any symptoms of a cavity or haven’t been in for a checkup in a while, visit us online to book an appointment and find the Castle Dental location nearest you. Let Castle Dental help restore not just your smile, but your confidence!