Fillings

Dental Fillings in Deerfield, IL

What are dental fillings?

Dental fillings consist of one or more types of metal, plastic, glass, or other materials used to restore or repair damaged teeth. The most common use is to ‘fill’ an area that has been removed due to decay. They are also used to repair cracks or broken teeth and worn down teeth from misuse such as nail-biting or teeth grinding.

Fillings & Restorations

The use of dental amalgams is no longer a common practice in dentistry. While the scientific community is divided concerning the risks of mercury in amalgam fillings, we at Zen Dental prefer to err on the side of caution, and have committed to not using this material. Instead, we use materials that offer a more natural appearance and last longer than traditional fillings. Traditional dental restorative materials still include base metals and gold when restored teeth need to withstand extreme chewing forces. Today’s dentists have a wide range of materials to repair decayed or damaged teeth, including ceramic and plastic compounds.

Composite Fillings

Composite fillings are a blend of powdered ground glass particles and acrylic resin. One of the main advantages of these types of fillers is aesthetics. The shade and color often closely match the shade or color of the existing tooth. The result is an even, natural look. Composites are typically used for visible parts of a smile, such as the teeth. Composite fillings chemically bond to the tooth’s structure and provide support and can be used to treat worn, broken, decayed, and chipped teeth. Compared to amalgams, less tooth structure needs to be removed when preparing the filling. Composite fillings offer resistance to fracturing and are sufficiently durable for moderate biting pressures.

What Steps Are Involved in Filling a Tooth?

First, your dentist uses a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth that needs to be filled. A drill or air abrasion instrument then removes any decayed area.

Next, your dentist may examine or probe the area for any remaining decay. After the decay has been removed from the tooth, the dentist will clean the cavity of bacteria and other debris. If the decay is close to the root, your dentist might first place a protective lining made of glass ionomer cement, composite resin, or another material. After the filling is in, the dentist will finish and polish the tooth.

There are several additional steps required for tooth-colored restorations. After your dentist has cleaned the area, the tooth-colored material is applied to the cavity. Then, a special light is used to cure or harden each layer. After the multi-layering process is complete, the dentist will shape and trim the composite material to the final desired result, then polish your final restoration.

Core Buildup

A core buildup is a restorative treatment where a missing portion of a tooth is replaced with a dental filling material to support a crown restoration.

If your tooth is badly damaged or missing a large volume of bone, an artificial dental crown might be necessary to restore its function and appearance. However, the remaining portion of the teeth can be so small that they are not large enough to support a dental crown.

To ensure the long term success of your crown, a certain amount of supporting tooth structure must be present. Specifically, the remaining root must have enough height, surface area, and tapering to hold the dental implant successfully.

When there are many missing teeth, we usually fill them with a material called core buildup. The buildup aims to replace missing tooth structure, create optimal geometry so that the crown restoration fits perfectly and protects the integrity of the tooth.

How is Core Buildup Made?

Commonly, core buildup is made directly into the mouth from tooth-colored polymers called dental composites. The tooth surface is usually prepared for the filling to adhere to the tooth with the use of phosphoric acid etchings and specially formulated dental adhesion materials.

If the cavity process extends close to nerve tissues located inside the tooth’s root canal space, the dentist may also place a calcium preparation to protect the tooth’s nerves.

If the volume of the missing teeth is substantial and there isn’t much tooth material left to support the filling, the dentist may also place threaded screws into the tooth, which helps keep the filling in place. Dentists may place titanium or a carbon fiber post into the tooth’s root canal space for teeth that had root canal therapy. Root posts help with the retention of the composite filling material.