If you have one or more teeth that have been compromised by tooth decay, it’s likely that your dentist has told you that you need to have the tooth filled. Many dentists today prefer to use tooth-colored fillings, such as those made from a porcelain material, for the variety of benefits these fillings offer as compared to the more traditional silver amalgam fillings. For those about to visit the dentist to have a cavity filled, here’s what to expect if you’re getting porcelain fillings.
The overall procedure for a tooth filled with porcelain is primarily the same as for those filled with amalgam. For starters, after the dentist has confirmed that tooth decay exists and requires removal, the area of decay will be removed by the dentist. Most dentists will first offer you a local anesthetic that will numb the area in your mouth where any work will take place. This will make the procedure itself virtually painless. For those afraid of the needle used to administer the anesthetic, you’ll be happy to know that some dentists first apply a topical gel that temporarily numbs the gums so that you don’t even feel the slight pinch of the anesthetic needle. This gel is not enough to provide pain-blocking protection through the entire procedure but is adequate to remove any minor discomfort while receiving the local anesthetic.
Once the mouth has had time to become sufficiently numb (this takes a few minutes), your dentist will get to work on removing the area of decay within the tooth. This is accomplished using a dental drill or dental laser, depending on the equipment preferred by your particular dentist. All decayed areas of the tooth must be sufficiently removed to prevent the further spread of decay.
It is now time to restore the strength, look and function of your tooth. If you are receiving a porcelain filing, the dentist will color-match the porcelain filling material at this time to seamlessly blend with your surrounding natural teeth. This is one of the greatest benefits of this type of filling material, since once the procedure is complete, the filled area is virtually indistinguishable from natural tooth material. Once color-matched, the filling material is placed in the cavity of the tooth where the decayed portion was just removed and is shaped to create a proper biting surface. If the material is used inside the tooth, it is referred to as an inlay, while if it is laid on top of the tooth, covering its cusps, it is referred to as an onlay.
Once the tooth is adequately filled and the filling material is shaped, a light is used to harden the filling material. Bite is then checked again and any minor adjustments can be made at this time to ensure maximum comfort.
The entire porcelain filling procedure can be completed in a single office visit and will leave you walking out of the office looking just like nothing was ever done to your teeth. The filling will be as strong, functional and aesthetically-pleasing as if you still had your natural tooth structure intact.
For more information about porcelain fillings, contact Gentle Dental in Queens at 718-461-0100.