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Cavities & Fillings

Repair & Protect Your Smile With Dental Fillings

Even patients who practice the most rigorous at-home oral hygiene routines, schedule regular dental exams, and get sealants to protect their smile are vulnerable to tooth decay and dental damage. Not only can this negatively affect your oral health, it can cause you to hide your smile and miss out on the health and social benefits of smiling. Cavities and other forms of dental damage tend to get worse the longer they go untreated. Fortunately, at Downtown Dental Group, our dentists, Drs. Hall and Winter can repair your smile with dental fillings. 

What Are Dental Fillings?

Dental fillings are materials used to repair damage to a tooth such as cavities, cracks, and chips. Not only do fillings repair damage to your teeth, but also they help prevent the damage from getting any worse, and help protect your smile against further damage. With fillings, our dentists can help you avoid the need for more potentially invasive, costly treatments down the line, as well as alleviate pain and restore bite force. We offer two kinds of dental fillings, silver (amalgam) fillings and tooth-colored fillings.   

What Are Silver Dental Fillings?

Silver or amalgam dental fillings are fillings made of a mix of metals including mercury, silver, tin and copper. Silver fillings have been part of dentistry for hundreds of years and are often prized due to their unique advantages. Silver fillings can last 10 to 15 years before they need to be replaced. Additionally, silver fillings are more durable than tooth-colored dental fillings, helping them better preserve the molar teeth that are more affected by the pressure exerted by biting. 

What Are Tooth-Colored Dental Fillings?

Tooth-colored dental fillings, also called composite, mercury-free, and white fillings, are non-metallic alternatives to amalgam fillings. Instead of using metal, tooth-colored dental fillings use composite materials, usually a mix of resin and ceramic, quartz, or silica. While tooth-colored fillings don’t last as long as silver fillings, they have a wide array of advantages that have made them a favored option with many patients. Some of those advantages include: 

  • Natural Appearance — As the name implies, tooth-colored dental fillings are customized to match your natural smile, an impossible-to-achieve effect when your fillings are silver.
  • Insulation — Silver fillings can interact with other metal dental restorations of differing compositions, generating an electrical charge and shocking the inside of your mouth. This phenomenon is called galvanic shock. Fortunately, the materials used in tooth-colored dental fillings are insulators that won’t generate electricity, preventing galvanic shock. 
  • Non-Toxic/Hypoallergenic — Silver fillings may contain mercury, which may be released in the form of toxic vapor when you bite down. Additionally, silver fillings may cause negative reactions in patients who are allergic to the metals they contain. The materials used in tooth-colored dental fillings are non-toxic and hypoallergenic, making your restorations safer.  
  • Temperature Resistant — Tooth-colored dental fillings don’t expand and contract when they come into contact with hot and cold and don’t transmit hot and cold sensations to the tooth’s nerve. This prevents sensitivity and helps to maintain the tooth’s structural integrity.
  • Preserves Enamel — Tooth-colored dental fillings require far less of your natural enamel to be removed to make room for them, which helps further preserve the structural integrity of the surrounding tooth. 
  • Hardens Quickly — Your dentist will harden your tooth-colored dental fillings almost instantly with a special hand-held blue light. This means you can start enjoying your new smile almost immediately after you leave the dentist’s chair.

The Dental Filling Process

Initial Consultation

Before we can approve you for fillings, your dentist will have you undergo an initial consultation to determine your candidacy. They’ll thoroughly examine your mouth, teeth, and gums, review your medical history, and ask you questions about your oral health. They’ll also tell you about your other options so you can make an informed decision. 

Preparing Your Teeth

Once you and your dentist have decided that dental fillings are the right treatment option, we’ll prep your teeth with a thorough cleaning and apply a local anesthetic so you don’t feel any pain. Your dentist will remove any damaged or decayed tooth material with special tools and antiseptic.

Applying Your Filling 

Once your teeth are clean and prepped, your dentist will apply your filling, although application will differ based on the type of filling you get. If you’re getting a silver filling, the dentist usually applies the filling in the form of a putty. The putty will be placed in the tooth and harden over a span of 24 hours. If you opted for the tooth-colored fillings, your dentist will apply the filling in layers and harden each layer instantly with a handheld blue light.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do dental fillings hurt?

Before any drilling takes place, we’ll apply a local anesthetic to the tissues around the affected tooth. You won’t be in any pain while your dentist applies your filling. After receiving a dental filling, sensitivity is normal in the treated area, but this should go away within a few weeks. You should be able to treat this pain with cold compresses or over-the-counter pain relievers. 

If your pain or discomfort isn’t going away or seems to be getting worse, please call our Manhattan, KS office by dialing (785) 776-0097. Our dentists will utilize their years of skill and do whatever we can to help alleviate your symptoms and make sure your treatment is going smoothly.

How much do dental fillings cost?

The exact cost of your dental fillings will vary based on several factors, such as how many teeth require treatment and your insurance coverage. Be sure to call your insurance provider beforehand to review your benefits. If you’re having trouble affording your treatment, feel free to talk to us about your options and we’ll work something out. 

What type of dental filling is best?

The type of dental fillings that will work best for you may not be the type that work best for someone else. Your dentist will help you decide what type of dental filling you should receive based on your unique oral health needs and draft an individualized treatment plan. 

Protect & Repair Your Smile With Dental Fillings

Our skilled dentists can use dental fillings to help repair and protect your smile, so you can get your oral health back on track, potentially avoid having to undergo more treatments down the line, and enjoy your smile to the fullest. Drs. Hall and Winter are proud to offer their years of expert dentistry experience to Manhattan, KS patients looking to restore their smiles, but we also serve surrounding areas like Keats, Zeandale, and St. George, KS. 

If you need a dental filling, contact Downtown Dental Group at our beautiful Manhattan location by dialing (785) 776-0097. You can also request an appointment online by clicking the button below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.