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Do I need a filling?

Millions of people get dental fillings every year to help them maintain better oral health and more beautiful smiles. Fillings are one of the most common dental treatments, used to repair and restore teeth and to prevent further damage. While repairing cavities is probably the primary reason for getting a filling, you might also get have one to prevent a cavity from forming — for instance, in a healthy tooth that’s cracked or broken. You can also get have a filling for cosmetic reasons — for instance, to replace an old filling that’s worn or dark. 

What are fillings made of? 

At Smile Workshop Family Dentistry and Orthodontics, we offer different filling materials to suit each patient’s needs and preferences. The two most common materials are metal amalgam and composite resin. 

Metal amalgam fillings 

Metal amalgams are the least expensive type of filling material, and they’ve also been around the longest. A metal filling uses a mixture of metals. The filling starts out with a putty-like texture that’s mixed by your dentist prior to placement. Once the decayed part of the tooth is removed, the filling material is packed tightly into the cavity to form a tight seal that prevents bacteria and other materials from entering the tooth. Amalgam fillings are durable, lasting about 10 to 20 years with proper care. The primary problems with amalgam are: 
  • It turns dark over time, making the repair much more visible as you get older. 
  • Metal fillings contain tiny amounts of mercury; even though it’s in a stable form, many patients don’t want mercury or other metals in their mouths. 

Composite resin fillings 

Today, many patients opt for composite fillings (sometimes called tooth-colored fillings or white fillings). These fillings are made of a tough resin material, and they can be tinted to match the surrounding tooth material. Once the composite material is in place, it’s buffed and shaped so it blends in, creating a virtually invisible repair. Composite resin fillings are slightly more expensive than metal fillings, and they generally don’t last as long — typically five to 10 ten years with good care. Still, because they blend in so well with the rest of your teeth, many patients prefer them over metal fillings. 

Getting a filling at Smile Workshop 

If you need a filling, the first step will be to numb your tooth so you won’t feel any discomfort. Next, the our dentist uses special tools to gently remove all the decayed and damaged tooth material, then carefully cleans out the cavity. The filling material is packed into the tooth and shaped so your bite is normal. With a composite filling, the dentist might use a light to help the material harden more quickly. If you’re anxious about getting a filling, we can provide you with a sedative or nitrous oxide to help you relax and stay comfortable. 

Durable fillings at a top family dentist in Texas 

Whether you have cavities, a toothache or you’d like to replace your dark fillings with fillings that look more natural, the team at Smile Workshop can help. With 14 locations across Texas including offices in San Antonio, Dallas-Fort Worth and Amarillo, we offer truly convenient care using state-of-the-art techniques and a customized approach for truly beautiful results. To learn more about fillings at Smile Workshop or to schedule a checkup and cleaning, give us a call at 1-888-833-8404 and book an appointment today.