Fixing cavities and broken teeth

What are dental fillings?

  • before-dental-fillings
    Dental cavities have to be removed and replaced with fillings.

Fillings are a simple way of fixing teeth with small-to-medium sized cavities. Dental fillings are very useful in dentistry with many different implications. For example, fillings can be used to restore tooth cavities, repair broken teeth, and even perform certain cosmetic procedures like closing small gaps or dental bonding. Fillings come in a wide variety of material including gold, silver (Amalgam), and natural-looking white fillings (known as composites and resins).

Filling your teeth helps protect them against more serious complications. For instance, if you don’t fill your tooth that has a cavity, the cavity continues to become larger and larger. Eventually, your tooth will develop an infection. At this point, you can no longer fix the tooth with a simple filling. Instead, you need a root canal treatment or may have to remove your tooth altogether. Don’t wait until your cavities become so large that they can’t be fixed with a dental filling! Visit your dentist and see how easy it is to fix your cavities with dental fillings.

When does my tooth need a filling?

Fillings are one of the most common treatments offered by general dentists. Dental fillings are very versatile and they have many different implications in dentistry. Here’s a look at some dental conditions which can be successfully treated with fillings:

Fixing dental cavities

dental-filling-cavities
Placing a filling protects your tooth against further damage to avoid the need for root canal or crown

The most common use for dental fillings is to repair tooth cavities. Once a tooth develops a cavity, the cavity bugs never go away by them selves. Dental cavities continue becoming larger and larger until getting they get closer to your tooth nerve. The only way to prevent this from happening is by fixing your cavity with a dental filling. Your dentist will remove the tooth decay which leaves a large hole behind. This hole is now filled with filling material such as white fillings or silver (Amlagam) fillings. Fillings protect your tooth against further damage to avoid the need for root canals, crowns, or even possible tooth loss.

Fixing teeth with small cracks

dental-fillings-crack-fracture
Fillings are used to fix small cracks and fractures

Dental fillings can also be used to fix small cracks and fractures. Your dentist will remove these fractures and replace the missing tooth structure with a white or silver (Amalgam) filling. Fillings are an excellent choice for repairing smaller cracks or fractures. However, larger cracks and deep fractures usually can’t be fixed with a simple filling. To fix these larger cracks and fractures, you typically require a crown or other more extensive dental restorations.

Cosmetic dentistry treatments

Fillings can also be used for certain cosmetic dentistry procedures. For instance, dental bonding and chair-side veneers are fillings that are placed on your front teeth to enhance the appearance of your smile. White fillings are used to fix stains, discolorations, to close small gaps in-between your teeth, and other minor cosmetic defects.

Other implications for dental fillings

Dental fillings can be used to repair tooth abrasions, seal dental implant abutments, open your bite during orthodontic treatment, as a temporary crown, buildup underneath your crown, etc. As you can see, fillings are the cornerstone of general dentistry and most dentists couldn’t go a day without doing one or more dental fillings in their practice!

What are the different types of dental fillings?

  • silver-dental-fillings
    Silver fillings stand out and may not be as attractive

Dental filling is a synthetic material that is used to restore your missing tooth structure. Dental fillings are durable, resilient, and long-lasting. There are three basic types of fillings, which are silver fillings,
white fillings, and gold fillings . Here’s what you need to know about each type of filling:

Silver fillings (Amalgam)

Silver fillings, or Amalgam, is a widely used filling material reserved for restoring back teeth. Amalgam is very popular because silver fillings are easy to place, they are water-resistant, and are extremely durable. The downside of silver fillings is that Amalgam contains mercury, which is a known toxin. While there’s no definitive proof that Amalgam fillings cause toxicity, however, many dental office tend to stay away from silver fillings due to its mercury component as well as its poor aesthetic appearance.

White fillings (Composite and resin)

White fillings, or composites and resins, have came a long way in the past few decades. The current generation of white fillings are sturdy, durable and aesthetically pleasing. White fillings can be used to restore your front and back teeth with equally great outcome. Additionally, white fillings come in a variety of different shades, which allows your dentist to match your exact tooth color. White fillings give your teeth a natural-looking appearance as they blend in with your tooth to become virtually invisible.

Gold fillings

In the old days, gold filings used to be the standard of care. This is because gold is malleable, durable, and can easily be contoured, making gold the perfect tooth filling material. However, gold fillings are rarely used to fix teeth nowadays. The high cost of gold in addition to the availability of more aesthetic alternatives, such as white fillings, has pretty much made gold obsolete as a tooth filling material.

What is a tooth filling procedure like?

Filling your teeth is one of the simplest of all dental procedures. Filling your teeth is a simple and cost-effective way of fixing teeth with small-to-medium sized cavities. Here’s what you should expect from a typical dental filling procedure:

Removing tooth decay, fracture or cracks

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Your dentist will ensure that there are no cavity bugs left behind to prevent recurring cavity or infection from developing

Treatment starts off by numbing your tooth. Typically, one to two shots is all you need for most simple dental fillings. Once numb, your dentist will start to remove the cavity bugs and/or fracture. Your dentist will make sure that there are no more cavity bugs left behind to prevent recurring problems in the future.

Filling your tooth

Once your tooth has been properly prepared and cleaned, it’s now time to fill the hole in your tooth. Your dentist will pack the tooth with white or silver filling material. Afterward, your dentist will check to make sure the the filling is smooth and comfortable. They will check your bite, examine the contacts, and smooth out any rough edges. Pay close attention to the fit and feel of your new filling to make sure that it feels comfortable. To learn more about what you can and can’t do after a tooth filling, click here.

What are the limitations of fillings?

dental-filling-limitations
Dental fillings are not a good option to repair teeth with large cavities or deep fractures

Dental fillings are a great option for fixing many different dental problems. Fillings are primarily used to repair small-to-medium sized cavities, cracks and fractures. However, fillings are not a good option for fixing larger cavities or deep fractures. This is because dental fillings do not provide enough support to restore severely damaged teeth. Larger defects typically require a crown to fix your teeth. Talk to your dentist to decide if a filling is a good option, or if you need to consider something more definitive. Don’t wait until you have a toothache! Call your dentist and get those teeth filled before it’s too late.

Fillings and general dentistry in San Clemente, Orange County

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By fixing your cavities early on, your treatment will be easier and more affordable.

If you have dental cavities, broken teeth and other dental needs, we can help. Give us a call today if you live in San Clemente, Orange County and need to see a dentist. You can reach us at (949)481-2540 or book your appointment online today. Our dentist, Dr. Jazayeri, will examine your teeth to see if a tooth filling is a good option. Treatment is easier and more affordable if you fix your tooth cavities early on. Don’t delay treatment any longer! A simple dental cavity today will turn into an infection sooner or later. Interested in purchasing treatment directly online? Click on the link below to go to my online store now:

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If you’re interested in learning more about dentistry topics related to fillings, click on the following links:

Definition of General Dentistry Terminology

Abscess (cyst)

A pus pocket containing harmful bacteria that forms around infected teeth. Teeth with abscess are considered infected and they either need root canal treatment or must be extracted.

Amalgam (silver filling)

Material used to fill dental cavities. Amalgam is silver colored and contains Mercury. As a filling material, Amalgam is durable and effective. However, there are some concerns about the safety of using Mercury to restore teeth.

Bicuspid tooth

Refer to premolar tooth please.

Canine tooth (cuspid or eye tooth)

A strong, pointed tooth with a single cusp used to direct other teeth as we chew side-to-side. Canine teeth are very strong and typically outlast all other teeth as we age. We have 4 total canines, teeth numbers: 6, 11, 22 and 27.

Cavity (decay)

A hole inside a tooth created by harmful cavity bugs. Dental cavities can cause slight tooth sensitivity, particularly to cold and sweets. They can also be asymptomatic. If left untreated, dental cavities infiltrate the tooth pulp and cause abscess and infection.

Composite resin (white filling)

Material used to fill dental cavities and broken teeth. Composite resin is safe, effective and matches your tooth color. Cosmetic dentists prefer using composite resins to other filling restoration material due to their natural appearance.

Crown (cap)

A large restoration that replaces the majority of your tooth structure above the gum line. Crowns are used to fix teeth which can no longer be salvaged with a simple filling. Crowns are typically made from gold, porcelain-fused-to-metal or ceramic material.

Decay

Refer to cavity please.

Deep cleaning (scaling & root planning)

A type of dental cleaning which focuses on removing plaque and tartar underneath your gum line. Deep cleanings are used to treat gum disease. Most deep cleanings are performed in multiple sessions and often times require anesthesia.

Dental cleaning

Teeth cleaning performed by your dentist or hygienist. Dental cleaning focuses on removing plaque and tartar which can’t be removed by brushing or flossing alone. Dental cleanings are categorized as simple cleaning or deep cleaning.

Dentin

The middle portion of your tooth which is located above the pulp and underneath the enamel. Unlike enamel, dentin has nerve endings which makes it sensitive to tooth decay.

Denture

Removable, false teeth used to replace your missing natural teeth. Dentures are made from pink and white acrylic. The pink portion secures your dentures in place and the white segment replaces your missing teeth. There are many different types of dentures including full dentures and partial dentures.

Enamel

The very hard outer portion of your tooth. In fact, enamel is the hardest tissue found in our bodies. Enamel protects your tooth from cavities and provides it with the strength to cut and chew food.

Filling

Material used by dentists to replace missing tooth structure. Fillings are used to fix dental cavities and broken teeth. Fillings are made from gold (mostly obsolete), Amalgam (silver filling) or composite resin (white filling).

Full Denture (Complete denture)

A set of false teeth which replaces all of your teeth in one arch. Full dentures are held in place by the suction they provide against your gum tissue. Full dentures are typically made from pink and white acrylic.

Gingivitis

The earlier stage of gum disease. Gingivitis is characterized by bleeding gums, bad breath and minor tooth sensitivity. If left untreated, gingivitis progresses to the more advanced stage of gum disease known as periodontitis.

Gum Disease (Periodontal disease)

Disease of the gums and jaw bone. Gum disease is caused by spread of harmful bacteria to your gum and jaw bone. Gum disease causes bleeding gums, bone loss and tooth loss. Gum disease is categorized as gingivitis and periodontitis.

Impacted Tooth

A tooth which is trapped underneath your jaw bone. Impacted tooth typically refers to wisdom teeth, although other teeth can also be impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth usually need to be removed. Other impacted teeth need to be removed, monitored or uprighted by your orthodontist.

Incisor tooth

The front most four teeth in your upper and lower jaw. Incisor teeth are used to cut food particles. We have 8 total incisors, teeth numbers: 7, 8, 9, 10, 23, 24, 25 and 26.

Infection

Spread of harmful bacteria into your tooth nerve. Once cavity bugs reach your tooth nerve, the tooth is now infected. Infected teeth can only be fixed with a root canal or you must remove the tooth completely.

Inlay

A type of crown which is a hybrid between fillings and crowns. Inlays are essentially conservative crowns which protect teeth similar to a crown but are conservative similar to a filling. Inlays are smaller than onlays and do not encompass your outer tooth walls.

Molar tooth

Teeth located in the back of our mouth which have four cusps. Molar teeth are large and used to crush food particles. We have 8 total molars, teeth numbers: 2, 3, 14, 15, 18, 19, 30 and 31. Additionally, some of us have 3rd molars or wisdom teeth which are teeth numbers: 1, 16, 17 and 32.

Nerve

Refer topulp please.

Night guard

A device worn at nights to protect your teeth against grinding. Night guards help reduce tooth fracture, TMJ pain and headaches. There are two types of night guards, generic night guards which you purchase online or from a local pharmacy and custom night guards which your dentist makes for you.

Onlay

A type of crown which is a hybrid between fillings and crowns. Onlays are essentially conservative crowns which protect teeth similar to a crown but are conservative similar to a filling. Onlays are larger than inlays and encompass at least one or more of your outer tooth walls.

Partial Denture

A set of false teeth which replaces some, but not all, of your missing teeth. Partial dentures are held in place by anchoring to your remaining teeth as well as suction against your gum tissue. Partial dentures can be made from different material including metals, acrylic and flexible resin.

Periodontal disease

Refer to gum disease please.

Periodontitis

The more advanced stage of gum disease. Periodontitis is characterized by bone loss, major tooth sensitivity and loose teeth. If left untreated, periodontitis causes your teeth to loosen and fall out. Plus, the resulting infection can spread to the rest of your body and affect your overall health.

Premolar tooth (bicsupid)

Transitional teeth between our front and molar teeth. Premolars have two cusps and are used to crush food particles. They are also the teeth most commonly removed for braces treatment. We have 8 total bisupids, teeth numbers: 4, 5, 12, 13, 20, 21, 28 and 29.

Pulp (nerve)

The innermost tooth layer which lies underneath your dentin. Your tooth pulp contains nerves and blood vessels. When your tooth pulp becomes damaged this results in a toothache. Once this happens, you require a root canal treatment or must remove the tooth.

Pulpotomy

Pulpotomy is the equivalent of a baby root canal. It entails removing the nerve structure from infected baby teeth. Performing a pulpotomy eliminates toothache while allowing your child to keep the tooth itself in order to prevent potential orthodontic complications.

Root canal treatment

A procedure to remove infected tooth nerve to eliminate pain and infection. During root canal treatment your dentist will disinfect your tooth and replace the missing nerve with sterile material known as Gutta Percha. Root canal treatment eliminates pain and infection and allows you to keep the tooth.

Scaling & root planning

Refer to deep cleaning please.

Sealant

A preventive treatment used to protect children’s teeth. Dental sealants are placed on teeth with deep groves, typically molars, to protect them against tooth decay and infection. Sealants are very effective and safe and do not require any tooth structure removal.

Sedation

Techniques used to calm patients with anxiety during dental treatment. There are many different sedation techniques in dentistry such as Nitrous Oxide, oral conscious sedation, IV sedation and general anesthesia.

Silver filling

Refer to Amalgam please.

Simple cleaning

A dental cleaning performed in absence of gum disease. Simple cleanings typically entail basic tooth scraping and polishing, occasionally with Fluoride treatment. Most people require a simple cleaning once every 6 months, although if you’re suffering from gum disease you need one every 3 to 4 months.

Third molar

Refer to wisdom tooth please.

White filling

Refer to composite resin please.

Wisdom tooth (third molar)

Tooth which is located all the way in the back of your mouth. Wisdom teeth start erupting in your late teens or twenties. Not everyone has wisdom teeth. For those that do, there’s a high probability that you have to remove these teeth. Otherwise, they will cause pain, swelling and infection.

Oceansight Dental & Implants

General, Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry

Office of Ali John Jazayeri

106 S Ola Vista

San Clemente, CA 92672

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