Although dental fillings are typically recommended to strengthen a tooth suffering from decay (a cavity), they can also repair teeth that are cracked, broken, or worn down. For patients who need dental fillings in Sterling, VA, Dr. E. Richard Hughes offers tailored treatment options to fit your budget and lifestyle. Fillings can be made of gold, silver amalgam, or tooth-colored composite, and Dr. Hughes will help determine the best choice for you. If you have a cavity and it is not treated, it will worsen and could require more extensive restorative dentistry such as a root canal or extraction. Fortunately, getting a tooth filled with Dr. Hughes is a simple, comfortable procedure that can effectively restore strength to your tooth. To schedule an appointment, contact our friendly, professional staff today.
With today’s modern dentistry techniques, patients can choose from several different types of dental fillings. Each kind has properties that determine its suitability. These are typically based on the extent of tooth decay, aesthetic concerns, insurance coverage, and budget.
Dr. Hughes weighs the advantages of different types of dental fillings placed at his Sterling, VA, practice. He offers both metal and tooth-colored fillings. He can also replace old amalgam fillings for a more aesthetic restoration that will last for years with proper care.
This type of filling is very durable and long-lasting. If it is correctly prepared, a cast gold filling will never break or fracture. Placed by a skilled dentist like Dr. Hughes, gold fillings support and protect the enamel margins of the tooth to prevent breakage far better than other types of filling materials. The gold itself will not wear down or erode, even after many years. Gold also expands and retracts similarly to the tooth's structure, which is important to withstand temperature variances in food and beverages. Because gold does not blend with enamel like tooth-colored fillings, it is used almost exclusively on the back teeth. Gold is also the most expensive type of dental filling, and they require two visits to place.
These fillings are also very strong and durable, and they can last for years (though not as long as gold). Silver amalgam is the least expensive type of filling, and it is usually covered by insurance. Although concerns have been raised about the mercury in amalgam fillings, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers them to be safe for adults and children over six years old based on credible scientific evidence. Like gold, silver amalgam stands out against the natural color of teeth, so placement will be a major consideration. Amalgam fillings also do not expand and contract as well as other materials. This does not necessarily cause problems, but needs to be taken into account.
The great advantage of tooth-colored fillings is their ability to seamlessly integrate with the rest of the tooth, making them preferable for highly visible areas. The composite material is also versatile because it can be used to repair other kinds of damage like chips, cracks, and wear. Though quite durable, these fillings do not last as long as gold or silver amalgam and they are not as strong. Composite fillings are more expensive than amalgam fillings, but typically insurance covers part of the cost (up to the cost of a comparable silver amalgam filling, with the patient paying the difference). Placement is important, since they may not be suitable for large fillings or back teeth that withstand large amounts of chewing force. In these cases, an inlay or onlay (also called an indirect filling) may be the best choice.
To place a filling, Dr. Hughes will numb the area first with a local anesthetic so you will be comfortable. He will clean and prepare the tooth by removing the decayed structure. The cavity will then be filled with the chosen material and polished to completion. Composite fillings require a few extra steps because the material is applied in layers, and each one is hardened with a special curing light. Any excess composite material also needs to be trimmed to maintain proper bite alignment.
Fillings are a simple way to restore your tooth and prevent more damage from occurring. Dr. Hughes provides personalized care with the right kind of filling for aesthetics, durability, and cost considerations. To schedule your appointment, get in touch with our office today.