Dental Emergencies Involving Dental Fillings

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Dental fillings are one of the most common dental restorations. They are typically used to restore small cavities or damaged areas. As long as a dental filling is intact, it will help keep the restored tooth strong and healthy, but if the filling becomes damaged or lost, it can lead to a dental emergency.

Our expert in emergency dentistry in Los Angeles can help with:

  1. Cracked fillings

Fillings can become cracked much like teeth can. When a filling is cracked, bacteria and debris can reach the tooth beneath the filling, which can lead to decay and infection. The filling must be replaced in order to prevent dental disease.

 

  1. Leaking filling

Aging fillings or fillings that have decay near the borders of the restoration can leak. The leaking can expose the tooth beneath the filling to bacteria, infection, and dental disease. The filling must be replaced as soon as possible.

 

  1. Lost filling

Aging or damaged fillings can become lost. A lost filling can cause pain in the exposed tooth, as well as increase the risk of decay. It must be replaced as soon as possible.

 

Call our expert in emergency dental fillings in LA today to schedule your emergency appointment.

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Most Common Types of Dental Fillings

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Fillings are used to treat cavities in the teeth. Our cosmetic dentist in Hollywood removes the decayed tissue and replaces it with a filling material that hardens. Fillings can also be used to restore damaged teeth, such as ones with cracks or breaks. This restores strength and looks to the tooth. Dental fillings can be made out of several different materials.

Gold lasts at least ten years, and is known for its strength. However, they do cost more than most other types, require more office visits, and can be very noticeable.

Silver also typically lasts at least ten years, and can easily withstand chewing forces. They are also one of the least expensive options. Silver is, however, a colored and therefore more noticeable filling, and requires more elimination of tooth structure to place.

Composite material is often preferred by both patients and our expert in dental fillings in Hollywood. Not only do they match the natural color of the teeth, but they also chemically bond to the tooth structure, offering more support. On the other hand, they are not as strong as some other options, and may require more time in the dentist’s chair.

Ceramic/porcelain is often used in dentistry due to its durability, tooth-like appearance, and resistance to stains. It is one of the more abrasive options.

Inlays and Onlays Compared to Fillings

Patients have several options when it comes to restoring a tooth that has been damaged due to deep decay. Decay leaves an empty space, or cavity, in the teeth, which needs to be filled in. Inlays, onlays, and fillings can be used. Information about these options can help patients decide which is right for them and their teeth.

 

Inlays and onlays

Inlays and onlays are also called indirect fillings. This is because they are made in a lab and sent back to the office to be placed. Restorations that are used to fill spaces inside the tooth are called inlays, and for the cusp of the tooth, onlays.

Patients and our dentists in Agoura Hills often prefer indirect fillings due to the fact that they do not weaken the tooth structure, and in fact strengthen it. Teeth restored with inlays or onlays can sustain fifty to seventy-five percent more pressure than those that are not.

 

Fillings

Unlike indirect fillings, regular fillings are created in the tooth. They can be made out of a variety of materials, including gold, silver, plastic, and porcelain. A large part of opting for a filling is how you want the restored tooth to look, as some of these materials are visible.

Common Types of Dental Fillings

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According to the National Institutes of Health, tooth decay is the number one chronic disease in both children and adults. In fact, only twenty-two percent of patients in the U.S. have not had a cavity before the age of seventeen. For the other eighty-eight percent, a dental filling is needed to restore the strength of the tooth or teeth damaged by decay. Our Los Angeles cosmetic dentist offers several types of dental fillings to best suit every case.

Types of dental fillings

• Amalgam: This common type is made of silver, tin, copper, and mercury. It is typically used for fillings needed in teeth in the back of the mouth. Amalgam fillings are strong and typically less expensive than other options, but do not match the color of the teeth.
• Composite resin: A popular option for tooth restoration, composite resin fillings are made of plastic and fine glass particles. They can be completed in just one visit and will match the color of the teeth.
• Gold: Though not as frequently used as they once were, gold can be used for inlays, onlays, and crowns. They are known to last fifteen years or longer.
• Ceramic: Most commonly made of porcelain, ceramic can also be used for inlays, onlays, and crowns. They last upwards of seven years, but are more prone to breaks.

Our expert in dental fillings in Los Angeles can recommend a type of dental filling based on your specific case.

Benefits of Dental Fillings

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The presence of cavities can be worrying. They can present health issues beyond damage to your smile. Fortunately, dentistry has developed a procedure to restore your smile after a cavity with non-invasive, undetectable tools and materials.

Dental fillings can be made with many different materials, including amalgam and resins. Composite resin, also known as white filling, is most commonly used, as its color is most similar to the natural color of teeth. The dental filling procedure begins with the removal of decay. The filling material is then placed in the space to restore both the look and structure. After the material hardens, our cosmetic dentist in Northridge uses tools to shape and smooth it around the tooth. By the end of the process, your damaged tooth will look new, or at least like all the others.

Not only do dental fillings restore the look and structural integrity of your tooth, they also eliminate the chance of further decay, which would destroy more of the tooth and likely affect the nerves and tissues. Our expert in dental fillings in Northridge can further explain the multiple benefits of dental fillings.

Benefits of Tooth Colored Fillings

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Tooth colored fillings are quickly becoming the filling of choice for patients who are looking to restore their tooth after a cavity. In fact, tooth colored fillings have many benefits associated with them.

Tooth colored fillings are also called composite fillings. That is because they are made from a composite resin material, which is a special mixture of plastic and glass. The reason so many patients prefer composite fillings is because they can be made to very closely match the color of their natural teeth. That quality stands in direct contrast to gold or amalgam fillings, with their high levels of visibility. After the tooth colored filling has bonded to the tooth, it also restores between 85-95 percent of the original strength of the tooth. And the bonding process is quick, as the resin hardens within seconds after being placed onto the tooth by our Los Angeles cosmetic dentist.

Composite fillings can also be used for purposes other than just filling cavities. The composite resin material is actually the same material used for dental bonding, meaning that teeth can be lengthened, reshaped, and even made whiter with the material. The composite resin is also particularly good at fixing chips and gaps in teeth.

Contact our expert in tooth colored fillings in Los Angeles if you think you may have a cavity that needs to be filled.

Why Do Amalgam Fillings Need to be Removed?

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Modern patients are increasingly having their amalgam fillings removed and replaced with composite fillings because of concerns about mercury. Mercury is a toxic heavy metal, and the risks that mercury amalgam fillings pose are worth considering for all patients. Here is a look at why patients should consider having their amalgam fillings replaced by our Agoura Hills dentist.

How Toxic Is Mercury Amalgam?

Amalgam fillings consist of an alloy containing mercury and a variety of other metals, such as silver, tin and copper. While the amount of mercury involved is small, even a tiny amount of the metal is extremely toxic. In fact, some patients with mercury fillings have reported neurological symptoms, such as fatigue and strange sensations, including burning and tingling.

Is Mercury Leached from Amalgam Fillings?

There is no doubt that amalgam fillings do give off some mercury, but there is controversy over whether it is enough to cause problems. While a number of studies have shown that no significant risk exists with non-damaged amalgam fillings, some experts say that the safety of these restorations is doubtful.

When Is Amalgam Filling Removal Beneficial?

Some patients with amalgam fillings may seek removal after experiencing odd neurological symptoms. In other cases, patients have their older amalgam fillings replaced as a preventive measure against such problems. Mercury fillings that are damaged or concealing decay should be replaced for preservation of oral health if not for avoidance of mercury toxicity. Of course, replacement with tooth-colored fillings also offers benefits beyond elimination of mercury. These benefits include lower risks of tooth breakage, prevention of tooth discoloration and better-looking teeth.

Removal of mercury fillings is beneficial for several reasons, but it should only be performed by a dentist who is experienced at containing the mercury released during the procedure. To learn more about the benefits of safe amalgam removal, patients can schedule a consultation with our dentist.