Fillings and Sealants

Tooth decay and cavities are common dental issues. Receiving a tooth-colored filling to restore your tooth helps prevents the problem from developing into something worse.

Tooth Fillings and Sealants

A filling is a simple restoration procedure primarily used to restore cavities or other mild decay or deterioration. Fillings are extremely common and have a high success rate. We offer options for composite fillings and amalgam fillings—both are safe. Which type we use depends on your needs, but we commonly use composite fillings because they are tooth-colored and appear more natural for teeth that are visible and easier for others to see or notice.

Sealants are a thin coating that is painted on teeth to protect them from cavities, they are typically used in children, but can be used in adults as well. Sealants are a quick and affordable option to preventing cavities and tooth fillings.

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  • How Do Cavity Fillings Work?

    Cavity and tooth fillings are required because of the deterioration of holes left in the tooth due to tooth decay. Left unchecked, the decay will continue to spread and damage the tooth. During the filling, procedure dentists clean away the decay inside the cavity, usually with a drill to prevent further damage. But this doesn’t fix the damage that has already been created, so a filling is necessary. The intent of the filling is to replace the part of the tooth that is missing or destroyed by tooth decay. The dentist molds the filling to match the shape of the surrounding tooth, which restores the strength and integrity of the toot and prevents further decay from happening.

  • How long does a dental sealant last?

    Dental sealants have been used and proven to be effective since the 1970s. They are mainly placed on chewing surfaces and are effective in preventing tooth decay. Their lifespan can vary, but many last years—and it is possible to place a new sealant on a tooth if the sealant wears off. It is important to note that sealants only protect the surface of the tooth they are placed on. Using fluoride and other preventative cleaning practices will still help protect all the surfaces of the tooth from decay and cavities.

  • What Types of Filling Materials are Available?

    There are several types of materials available that are used for fillings, which include gold, porcelain, silver amalgam (which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc and copper), tooth-colored plastic and composite resin fillings. There is also a material that contains glass particles and is known as glass ionomer. This material is sued in ways similar to the use of composite resin fillings. Which type is used depends on your dentist, the extent and location of your tooth decay, and sometimes, your insurance coverage.

  • What is a dental sealant?

    Sealants give us a tool that can dramatically reduce the number of fillings placed in permanent teeth during critical stages of growth and development. On the chewing surface of molars, deep grooves reach into the center of the teeth. Under a microscope, these crevices might look like a deep canyon. In fact, most of them are narrower than a single toothbrush bristle but wide enough for bacteria to hide. It’s easy to see how cavities can form in such a perfect hideout.

    If the grooves in permanent molars are sealed at a young age, the risk of decay occurring on the chewing surfaces decreases dramatically. Fortunately, this procedure can be done quickly and without any discomfort. If the grooves are free of cavities, they can be gently cleaned out and conditioned for bonding. Then a resin material is flowed into the grooves and sealed quickly with a blue activating light. Within a few minutes, the permanent molars receive a protective measure against cavities.

What are you waiting for?

At River Valley Dentistry, we strive to provide high-quality dental care. Schedule a dental appointment to discuss whether fillings or sealants are right for you.