What are Tooth Fillings?

Because cavities are so common, nearly everyone will experience at least one at some point in their life. Fortunately, they can usually be treated with a simple, conservative tooth filling, which stops the decay, alleviates the toothache, and restores the tooth’s strength.

By placing a filling inside of your tooth, Dr. Petto Messina can help you preserve the healthy tooth structure that remains and avoid more extensive restorative treatment later. After a careful examination, she will consult with you to determine the best material to use for your tooth filling.

What are fillings made of?

Tooth fillings can be made from a variety of materials, depending on the location of your tooth, the size of the cavity, and your own personal preferences. For instance, metal fillings can withstand a large amount of bite pressure, and are therefore often recommended for back teeth.

For more esthetic results, tooth-colored composite resin can also withstand most levels of bite pressure, but can be tinted to match the shade and hue of your natural tooth structure. Tooth-colored fillings are usually recommended for teeth that are visible when you smile.

What if my cavity is too big for a filling?

Modern tooth fillings can typically restore even large cavities, though they may be combined with a dental crown for additional protection. However, if tooth decay has reached the internal chamber, or pulp, then you might require root canal treatment to effectively treat it.

In rare cases, extreme tooth decay can lead to the need for tooth extraction to stop the infection from spreading. The best chance to avoid a filling, root canal treatment, or tooth extraction lies in maintaining good oral hygiene and a regular schedule of preventive dental visits.