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Dental Fillings

What is a Filling?
A filling is a type of restorative procedure to fix a tooth damaged by decay. When the dentist performs a filling he will remove the decayed tooth structure, debride the affected area and fills the excavated cavity with a filling material. In our practice we use a hybrid composite resin, otherwise known as a 'tooth-colored' filling. Fillings can be on multiple surfaces of the tooth. If decay is nearing the nerve, the dentist will place a 'pulp cap' made from calcium hydroxide which attempts to keep the nerve alive. A pulp cap can be placed during the filling procedure.

Different Types of Filling

Composite Filling
A tooth colored filling, or composite filling, can be matched specifically to the color of your teeth. Because of this, composite fillings are generally used on your front, visible teeth. These fillings are extremely durable and can be used on small or large fillings. Using a composite filling allows dentist to remove less of the tooth structure then is needed during an amalgam filling. Composite filling can be sued for:

  • Decayed tooth (i.e. cavity)
  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Decreasing the gap between teeth

Amalgam Filling
Amalgam fillings, or silver fillings, are made from the combination of a few different metals (mercury, silver, tin and copper). Amalgam fillings are generally used on molars, where they will be subjected to the brunt of the force produced when you chew or grind your teeth.  We do not perform Amalgam fillings at Venice Village Dental. Only Composite (white) fillings are performed.

What is a Multiple Surface Filling?
A multiple surface filling is a filling that covers more than one area of the tooth. Each tooth has five surfaces.
These surfaces include:

  • Occlusal or Incisal – the surface on the biting part of the tooth, or the top of the tooth
  • Mesial – the surface of the tooth that faces the midline of the jaw, or the front part of a tooth
  • Distal – the surface of the tooth that faces the away from the midline of the jaw, or the back part of a tooth
  • Facial or Labial – the surface of the tooth that faces the cheek or lip
  • Lingual or Palatal – the surface of the tooth that faces the tongue or palate

Therefore, a multi-surface filling is one that covers two or more of the above surfaces. For example a MOD filling is a filling that covers the mesial (M), occlusal (O) and distal (D) surfaces of the tooth. The price of a filling generally increases with the addition of each surface. Prior to your filling, an assistant will go over your diagnosed treatment plan and will explain how many surfaces there are and what your cost will be.

How Do I Know if I Need a Filling?
Only your dentist can detect if you have decay that should be restored with a filling. During a check up, your dentist will use a small mirror to clinically examine all surfaces of the teeth and view x-rays to check for any decay in between your teeth that cannot be seen otherwise. Any tooth that looks abnormal will be closely examined with a special instrument called an 'explorer'. The type of treatment your dentist diagnoses will solely depend on the amount of damage caused by the decay..

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