Forest Hills Composite Fillings

Aside from gum disease (periodontitis,) tooth decay is one of the most common dental ailments that we see in patients who visit our Forest Hills family dental office.

Fortunately, modern restorative options allow Dr. Gregory Mark to treat cavities in a safe and aesthetic manner. So, your filling doesn’t only enhance the health of your tooth, it also restores the natural beauty of your smile.

Forest Hills Dental offers state-of-the-art white (composite) fillings in lieu of silver amalgam. It is completely free of mercury and other visible metals.

Benefits of White Fillings

At Forest Hills Dental, we opt to use minimally-invasive white fillings. Although older silver fillings have been valuable in years past, the advantages of composite (white) restorations far outweigh that of their metal cousins.

White fillings bond closely with your enamel. Silver fillings can’t. What this means for your smile is that we don’t have to alter as much of your healthy tooth structure to restore your smile’s health. Only the physical cavity needs to be removed, as opposed to a wedge cut into the tooth to physically hold the filling in place.

Some types of white fillings also contain fluoride, allowing the mineral to enhance the health of your surrounding enamel. This is a great technique to help limit recurring cavities around your existing dental work.

Since composite resin comes in a variety of different shades, it’s possible to repair cavities in the front of your smile without detracting from its appearance. Ultimately, we want the restoration to blend in so well that no one except our Forest Hills dentist knows that it’s there.

Symptoms of Tooth Decay

What are some of the most common signs of cavities? Let our Forest Hills family dentist know if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:

• Rough edges you can feel with your tongue
• Problems with food getting stuck between certain teeth
• Darkening or discoloration of your enamel
• Sensitivity to certain types or temperatures of foods

Additionally, there might be something that just “doesn’t feel quite right” or is a little “off” when you’re biting and chewing. If that’s the case, let Dr. Mark know. Although many cavities start off small, your mouth and tongue are sensitive enough that you can start to pick up on the warning signs earlier than you might suspect.

What to Expect: The Filling Process

Are you getting a dental filling for the first time? At Forest Hills Dental, your comfort is extremely important to us! Dr. Mark will take special steps to assure your comfort throughout the short procedure.

First, we’ll use a small amount of local anesthetic to thoroughly numb your tooth. That way it will be desensitized once it’s time to start cleaning out the decay. After the cavity is removed, Dr. Mark will use a special shade guide to match the color of composite to your natural enamel. Then he’ll fill in the void and shape the surface so that it resembles the normal contour of our bite. Finally, a bright light will cure the resin in place.

Most dental filling appointments only take about an hour or so from start to finish. However, it can take a few more hours for the numbing medication to completely wear off.

Using X-rays to Diagnose Cavities

The cost of dental care shouldn’t be what gets in the way of getting the emergency treatment you need. At Forest Hills Dental our treatment coordinators work closely with your dental insurance to help you access all of the benefits you’re entitled to.

Don’t have dental insurance? No problem. We offer flexible low-interest and 0% interest financing plans that fit your budget, so that you can start emergency treatment right away. In most cases you can apply for coverage on the spot, with immediate access to funds.

Digital X-rays make it possible for us to see deeper into your tooth and anatomical structures. Otherwise, all we would have to rely on would be the outer surfaces that are visible during your exam.

But with an X-ray, we can evaluate density of tooth structures, bone, and when lesions such as cavities or abscesses are present.

One of the more frequent X-ray series we take during checkups is called “bitewings.” Bitewing films allow Dr. Mark to check the most susceptible areas for decay; specifically between your teeth and under the deep grooves on the chewing surfaces. It’s typical to have bitewings taken about once per year, unless you’re at a high risk of decay.

If we determine that your cavity is too large to fill, Dr. Mark will likely recommend a full-coverage crown or inlay/onlay, depending on the extent of your tooth’s structural damage.

Cavity Prevention

Professional strength fluoride and protective dental sealants are great resources to lower your risk of tooth decay.

If your teeth are particularly susceptible to cavities or you have recurring decay on a frequent basis, we may recommend a fluoride prescription to use at night before bed.

Although sealants are typically recommended for children, you can request them as an adult at any time. Sealants are protective coatings that we place on the molars or premolars (bicuspids) to protect the deep grooves, which tend to be more prone to decay.

“But My Tooth Doesn’t Hurt”

Not all cavities hurt. Sometimes tooth decay can be within close proximity of your dental nerve without any pain or sensitivity.

In fact, it’s best to treat tooth decay before it causes pain, so that emergencies and unnecessary treatments can be avoided. It’s ideal to proactively treat smaller cavities with a modest filling than it is to wait for the lesion to spread deeper into the tooth’s structure (requiring a crown and/or root canal.)

Lab Made Fillings

When you have a cavity or structural damage that’s too large to repair with a traditional filling, you might need something called a “lab made filling.” These restorations are better known as inlays, onlays, or three-quarter crowns.

Thanks to onsite CAD/CAM technology and CEREC, we’re able to take digital impressions and create a 3D same-day restoration at the same appointment. There’s no need to wait two weeks to have your inlay or onlay made by a third party lab. The entire restoration is carved from a solid block of porcelain while you wait

Think You Might Have a Cavity?

Schedule a six month checkup at Forest Hills Dental for regular cavity screenings. Dr. Mark will evaluate your teeth from visit to visit, so that newly developing issues can be addressed as soon as possible.

If you’re looking for a new family dentist in Forest Hills, we invite you to give us a call!