Dental Fillings in Ontario, CA
If you have a cavity, you’re not alone: dental fillings are one of the most common treatments in dental offices. According to the CDC, 1 in 4 adults currently has at least one cavity. Unfortunately, cavities are often left untreated, leading to more serious problems down the road. At Esparza Dentistry, our compassionate team of dental professionals will fill your cavity quickly and efficiently so you don’t have to worry about complications.
How Do Cavities Form?
Cavities, or tooth decay, are small holes in the tooth caused by plaque accumulation. When naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth mix with sugary food and drinks, an acid is created. The combination of acid, bacteria, saliva, and food particles creates plaque, a sticky substance that coats your teeth. Proper brushing, especially after you eat, helps to remove plaque. However, when plaque accumulates, the acid wears away the enamel, creating a cavity that must be filled.
Signs You Need Dental Fillings
Signs of a cavity depend on the severity of decay. You may have a cavity that requires a dental filling if you experience the following symptoms:
- Pain while chewing
- Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
- Sensitivity, especially to hot or cold foods and drinks
- Visible holes or pits
- Staining that appears white, brown, or black
Treating Cavities with Dental Fillings
Cavities can be repaired with dental fillings. Several different filling materials can be used to close the hole in your tooth. You may be familiar with amalgam fillings, which are silver in appearance. These fillings are made of silver, tin, and copper mixed with liquid mercury. To place a silver filling, we need to use a drill to remove the decay and shape the cavity. While amalgam fillings have been used for more than 150 years due to their strength and affordability, they are quickly becoming overshadowed by tooth-colored composite resin fillings.
There are many benefits of tooth-colored fillings, which make them a first-choice material for many patients. Their advantages include:
- Natural look: Because composite fillings are the same color as your natural teeth, they are nearly indetectable. This makes them especially useful for cavities on highly visible teeth, like those in the front of your mouth. With tooth-colored fillings, you’ll be able to laugh heartily and smile proudly, knowing that others won’t notice your fillings.
- Maintain tooth structure: Amalgam fillings require us to remove some tooth structure before placing them. On the other hand, composite fillings are bonded directly to the tooth in layers, allowing us to preserve the integrity of your teeth while providing enhanced support.
- No mercury: Unlike amalgam fillings, composite fillings contain no mercury or other metals. Instead, a plastic material called acrylic resin is mixed with powdered glass quartz, silica, or other ceramic particles. As a result, composite resin fillings are very safe.
- No corrosion: Amalgam fillings will eventually corrode, causing the filling to look black. More importantly, the corrosion can let bacteria seep through, leaving your tooth vulnerable to additional decay. Composite fillings do not corrode.
- Versatile: Besides filling cavities, we use composite resin to restore chipped, broken, or worn teeth.
While tooth-colored fillings are not quite as long-lasting as silver ones and may take a little longer to place, they are an excellent choice for patients who want an undetectable, metal-free filling.
The Risks of Untreated Cavities
With early-stage cavities, the acids in your mouth begin to break down the minerals in your enamel in a process called demineralization. At this stage, you may notice a white spot on your tooth. Fortunately, decay at this stage can be reversed. Proper oral hygiene that includes fluoride toothpaste allows the enamel to repair itself.
However, cavities are often left untreated. In fact, 10% of children aged 2-5 have untreated decay. Cavities that have advanced beyond demineralization are permanent. When they aren’t treated, cavities get larger and affect deeper layers of the tooth.
Decay will progress from the enamel to the dentin and pulp, increasing sensitivity and pain as the cavity grows. At this point, we may need to use a dental crown instead of a filling to restore the tooth’s function.
Deep cavities can also lead to a tooth abscess—a pocket of pus caused by an infection. An abscessed tooth is painful and requires more complex treatments, like root canal therapy, to resolve.
If the abscessed tooth becomes damaged beyond repair, we will perform a tooth extraction to prevent further infection. We can then use a mini dental implant to replace your missing tooth, restore your bite function, and maintain your jawbone’s integrity.
The Dental Filling Procedure
Dental fillings are quick procedures, lasting only about an hour. For tooth-colored fillings, we will match the composite material to the color of your natural teeth using a shade guide.
We use local anesthesia to numb the tooth and surrounding area so that you don’t feel any pain as we place your filling. We first prepare the tooth by cleaning it and removing the decay. Then, we apply an etching gel to roughen the tooth’s surface. This helps the composite material adhere to the tooth. We apply the composite material in layers, hardening each using UV light. Once the filling is cured, we’ll check your bite and smooth and polish the material.
Aftercare for Dental Fillings
Until the anesthesia wears off, you may experience numbness for a few hours. We recommend waiting to eat until you are no longer numb so you don’t accidentally bite your tongue or cheek. After this, no dietary changes are needed, but you should limit sugary foods and drinks to help prevent additional decay.
Maintaining your fillings is simple with regular six-month checkups at Esparza Dentistry and good oral hygiene practices. With proper care, your composite filling will last for about 10 years.
Caring for your teeth with dental fillings and preventing additional cavities rests on your oral hygiene habits. Proper hygiene includes:
- Brushing twice a day using a soft-bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste
- Brushing at a 45-degree angle towards the gumline using a gentle sweeping or circular motion
- Tipping your toothbrush to reach the inside surfaces of your teeth
- Cleaning your tongue to remove bacteria
- Flossing daily, making sure to clean under the gumline
- Replacing your toothbrush every three to four months
- Using an antimicrobial mouthwash
- Cutting back on sugary foods and drinks
- Eating foods that promote healthy bacteria, like yogurt, pickles, and sourdough bread
- Drinking water with fluoride, especially after drinking coffee
- Getting dental sealants to cover pits and fissures in your teeth
Precision Dental Fillings at Esparza Dentistry
At Esparza Dentistry, your oral health is our top priority. We are committed to providing high-quality dental care, including expert dental fillings to treat cavities before they become unmanageable. We specialize in tooth-colored composite fillings that seamlessly blend in with your natural teeth, ensuring a discreet and functional restoration.
With over 25 years of experience serving patients in Ontario, Rialto, and Chino, you can trust us to provide compassionate, professional care for you and your family. Say goodbye to cavities with precision dental fillings at Esparza Dentistry. Contact us today to experience the difference of personalized, expert dental solutions.