What is a filling?
A filling is the generic term for the direct, in office, restoration of a tooth. In our office we only place white resin composite fillings due to their superior esthetics and ability to bond directly to tooth structures.
Why are fillings done?
The most common reason for needing a filling is that there is decay that has to be completely removed. This can be either easily visible, such as with an open hole in a tooth, or hidden between teeth and seen using X-rays. If a tooth has a small chip in it they can often times be restored directly with a filling as well. They can also be used to close small gaps between teeth or change the shape for esthetic reasons if so desired.
How are fillings done?
We first anesthetize the teeth so that there is no discomfort during the procedure. Once profoundly numb we remove any decayed or cracked tooth structure, place a bonding agent, and then build layers of the restoration as if we were making a tooth out of wax. Once the ideal shape is achieved we cure the tooth with a bright blue light, which hardens the restorations fully and allows them to be used immediately after the appointment. We then check to ensure that the shape and bite are perfect before polishing the restoration.