Dental Tips Blog


How Do Dental Fillings Stay in Teeth?

Posted in Fillings

Have you ever wondered what makes dental fillings stay in teeth?

There are two main ways that this dental “magic” happens. The traditional method is mechanical, while the newer one is micro-mechanical. Once you understand the difference, you’ll be better prepared to choose the right kind of filling for your smile.

How Dentists Place Mechanical Fillings

Don’t let the term “mechanical” fool you; there aren’t any machines included in a tiny filling. Mechanical simply refers to how a filling physically locks with a tooth.

Traditional silver fillings set up quickly once the amalgam mixture is poured into a prepared tooth. It hardens, and the dentist shapes it to repair the tooth. But this material won’t stick to enamel like glue.

So, what the dentist has to do is create the base of the deeper layer of your tooth to be slightly wider than the opening at the top. After the liquid filling hardens, the tooth’s shape helps hold – or wedge it – in place.

What Is a Micro-Mechanical Bond?

Dentists set  composite resin tooth-colored fillings with a special light that results in a chemical reaction. Before pouring in the material, however, the dentist prepares the tooth surface by etching it with a chemical.

The roughened tooth surface then creates an easy place for the filling to grip onto as it hardens. This is called a micro-mechanical bond.

A micro-mechanical method is considered better than the traditional method since it lets the filling create a tighter bond with the tooth. This means that the tooth preparation doesn’t have to be as invasive.

Should you choose a conservative tooth-colored filling or the classic silver one? Contact a restorative dentist nearby to help you decide.

Posted on behalf of:
Soft Touch Dentistry
1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050


Have You Tried the Dental Filling-Crown Hybrid, Yet?

Posted in Fillings

When you get a cavity, your options usually include either a filling or a crown.

Did you know that you could get the best of both worlds?

There are dental filling- crown hybrids that many dentists use to restore and enhance teeth. They’re called inlays and onlays.

How Do Inlays and Onlays Work?

Inlays and onlays are called indirect restorations as opposed to direct restorations.

Direct restorations are fillings, which are packed directly into your tooth in one sitting. But an indirect restoration is based on a mold taken of your prepared tooth. The restoration is carved from a material (usually tooth-colored porcelain) and then that piece is cemented into your tooth at a later date.

This process is very similar to that of placing dental crowns. The only difference is that crowns cover the entire tooth while inlays and onlays replace a part of it.

So, inlays and onlays are strong like dental crowns but more conservative like fillings. This makes them the perfect hybrid for repairing teeth that need more support than a filling can give.

The hybrid restorations are called inlays when they replace a part of the “valley” in a molar. They become onlays when they have to replace part of a cusp or edge on a tooth.

Does Your Tooth Qualify for an Inlay or Onlay?

If you have a cavity that needs treatment, then an inlay is a great option. Some patients opt for an inlay even when their tooth doesn’t have much damage simply because they want a stronger and more lasting treatment.

Ask a restorative dentist about inlays and onlays the next time they recommend a filling.

Posted on behalf of:
Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC
1295 Hembree Rd B202
Roswell, GA 30076
(770) 475-6767


The Truth About DIY Fillings

Posted in Fillings

Filling your tooth at home may seem like the easy way out when you want to save a buck or skip a trip to the dental office.

But DIY fillings aren’t the miracle solution they may seem to be.

DIY Dental Filling Kits Can Be Dangerous

Without actual dental treatment experience, you could put too much patch-up material in your tooth, damage your it further, or accidentally swallow something you shouldn’t.

Additionally, you can’t just cover over a cavity with filling material and call it good. Tooth decay is an active bacterial infection, and the cavity will only spread underneath the filling if a dentist doesn’t properly clean out the decay before filling your tooth.

You’ll Pay More for a Job that Wasn’t Done Right the First Time

Using a cheap DIY kit to fill your tooth may feel like a smart move. But you can end up spending more money for an actual dentist to repair the damage done by a kit you bought online.

Temporary Fillings Are Just That – Temporary!

There are plenty of products available in drugstores that are labeled as temporary dental cements. These kits contain a quick-setting filler and instructions for filling a tooth when you’re in a pinch.

But these kits are temporary for a reason. The cement isn’t the same kind of long-lasting filling material you’d get in a professional treatment. It only holds up for a limited amount of time (like while you’re away on vacation.)

Temporary cements are not substitutes for real dental fillings. They just tide you over when you’re in a situation where you can’t see a dentist.

Visit your dentist to learn more about the importance of professional dental fillings and alternatives that might be available.

Posted on behalf of:
Kennesaw Mountain Dental Associates
1815 Old 41 Hwy NW #310
Kennesaw, GA 30152
(770) 927-7751


Does It Hurt to Get a Filling?

Posted in Fillings

When you hear “dental filling” you might think “pain.” But that’s only because you need a filling to repair a cavity, which is painful.

Cavities are often painful because they are holes that expose the tooth’s nerve to uncomfortable elements in the mouth. That nerve is very sensitive to sweets, hot and cold temperatures, and acids. Decay removes some of your tooth’s protective layers and jeopardizes the nerve.

Getting a dental filling is what will help your tooth to feel better. It patches up the hole, to restore the insulation around your tooth’s nerve.

But does it hurt to have decay removed and filled?

Why Fillings Don’t Hurt

You will be numb for the entire filling process. Your dentist will give you an injection of anesthesia that dulls your tooth to pain. While the physical removal happens, you won’t feel more than a little pressure.

Cavity preparation removes only the rotten part of your tooth to keep the hollowed-out hole as small as possible.

The dentist then puts in the filling to seal off the opening left behind. Your patched-up tooth will be ready for action almost immediately after your appointment.

After the Filling

Even after your numbing injection wears off, you shouldn’t feel any pain. The only potentially painful part is the fact that your tooth nerve was exposed to food and air temperatures. The filling plugs up the opening and fixes that problem.

Some people experience a little sensitivity soon after getting a new filling, but their teeth quickly adjust.

It is very unusual to experience discomfort after getting a tooth filled. If you do, contact your dentist to have your restoration checked.

Posted on behalf of:
Buford Family Dental
4700 Nelson Grogdon Blvd. NE #210
Buford, GA 30518


Do These 6 Things Before Bed Each Night to Lower Your Risk for Tooth Decay

Posted in Fillings

Say goodbye to tooth decay by adding a few important steps to your evening routine.

  1. Drink a Glass of Water

A hydrated mouth is key to keeping enamel strong and kicking out cavity-causing bacteria. Water can also help neutralize food acids from your dinner.

  1. Floss

Flossing prevents cavities between teeth. When you floss at bedtime, you’ll probably be in less of a hurry than if you did it in the morning.

  1. Brush for at Least Two Full Minutes

Don’t shirk! The longer you brush, the greater your chances of scrubbing away every bit of plaque that causes decay. Any plaque you leave on your teeth before bedtime will work all night long to wear down enamel.

  1. Don’t Rinse Out the Toothpaste!

It’s tempting to rinse out the foamy bubbles after you brush. But you’re better off leaving that residue there after spitting, since ingredients like fluoride keep benefitting your teeth while you sleep.

  1. Rinse with Fluoride Mouthwash

If your dentist recommends it, swishing a fluoride rinse for about a minute is a good way to strengthen your tooth enamel against bacteria acids.

  1. Varnish Weak Spots

Use an anti-sensitivity toothpaste as a varnish or condition on weak areas. Sensitivity toothpastes help strengthen enamel and deliver fluoride where it’s needed. Dab a little paste on exposed tooth roots, sensitive teeth, and dental fillings before you go to bed, and leave it there without rinsing.

Take advantage of the evening hours before bed to thoroughly clean and strengthen your tooth enamel. Your teeth (and bank account) will thank you for needing fewer fillings! Ask your dentist for more tips on preventing cavities.

Posted on behalf of:
Gold Hill Dentistry
2848 Pleasant Road #104
Fort Mill,  South Carolina 29708
(803) 566-8055


4 Smile-Healthy Summertime Snack Ideas for Kids

Posted in Fillings

With warm weather comes the need for refreshing and energizing fuel to keep little bodies healthy all summer long.

Here are a few simple snack ideas that you can offer your kids without raising their risk for tooth decay. Read the rest of this entry »


What to Expect When You Get a Filling

Posted in Fillings

You’re scheduled for a filling and you’ve never had one before. You may be a little anxious about the procedure. What should you expect?

Feeling Numb

First of all, the dentist will make sure that the tooth is well anesthetized before he or she starts working. You won’t feel any pain during the procedure, but you might notice some pressure. The anesthetic may make your tongue and parts of your face feel numb and can take a few hours to wear off afterward.

If at any point you feel that the anesthesia isn’t strong enough, just raise a hand and let the dentist know. He or she can always place a little more to keep you comfortable.

Preparing the Tooth

Your dentist may seal off your tooth with a rubber dam or prop open your mouth with a bite block to provide a clear working area. You’ll also feel a suction that keeps all saliva out of the way, for a dry surface to work with.

The next step is to remove all decay from the tooth. Special – and small – drills will quickly buff away the cavity and damaged structures while smoothing the tooth so that a filling can be placed.

Placing the Filling

This process varies depending on whether you are getting a metal filling or a composite filling you get, but it doesn’t take long. Your dentist pours in the soft material and shapes it to complete your tooth. Once it sets, you’ll bite down on a piece of paper to check the fit. The dentist will also floss around your tooth to make sure the filling is smooth against each side.

That’s it! If you’re only getting one filling, you should be done in less than a half hour. Ask your dentist any questions you have about your procedure.

Posted on behalf of:
Mundo Dentistry
3463 US-21 #101
Fort Mill, SC 29715
(704) 825-2018


How to Make Your Dental Fillings Last

Posted in Fillings

Despite some incredible advances in dentistry, there is not yet a single dental filling that’s expected to last forever.

Metal fillings tend to last no longer than 15 years and composite restorations have even shorter lifespans.

Even still, the way you take care of your dental fillings affects how long they last in your smile.

Try these tips for getting the most out of your new dental work:

Mouth Guards

A habit of grinding or clenching your teeth at night can loosen fillings or break down the tooth around them. It’s worth investing in a special night guard to provide space to keep your teeth slightly separated while you sleep.

Play sports? You may consider getting an athletic mouth guard. This will cushion the blow if your jaw is shoved back (reducing the risk of concussion,) and protect your teeth from fracturing.


The edges of dental fillings are very susceptible to decay. Those margins can be opened up by cavity-causing bacteria. As a cavity progress under the filling, it can loosen up and fall out.

Strengthen the enamel around your fillings by getting plenty of fluoride through dentist-recommended products.

Good Oral Hygiene

Just because your tooth is filled doesn’t make it invincible! You still need to diligently brush and floss restored teeth every single day. Proper oral hygiene reduces the amount of plaque bacteria that collects around dental fillings.

Regular Dental Checkups

Visit your dentist regularly to check for signs of a weak restorations. The sooner you catch them, the sooner you can treat the tooth and avoid the nasty surprise of needing a root canal or extraction.

Call your local dentist today to plan your next checkup.

Posted on behalf of:
Soft Touch Dentistry
1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050


Direct or Indirect Fillings – Which Is Better?

Posted in Fillings

The classic method for repairing cavities is to patch the hole in a tooth with a silver or white composite filling. An indirect filling, on the other hand, is when the restoration is made outside of the mouth and then placed into the “hole.”

Indirect fillings are often called “onlays” or “inlays.” They usually take more time to make than a traditional filling. The prepared tooth is scanned or molded to create a model and the finished restoration will be put in the tooth in a single piece.

Which method of restoring teeth is better?

When to Get a Direct Filling

A direct filling is usually the first line of defense against a cavity or chipped tooth.

As long as the damage is small, a direct filling may be all you need. These traditional restorations work well in teeth that still have a solid structure remaining.

What if that cavity in your tooth is too big for a filling?

Advantages of Indirect Fillings

If a traditional silver or composite restoration isn’t enough, the next step is usually a dental crown.

But you don’t have to cap your tooth entirely, thanks to indirect fillings. An onlay or inlay is something between a crown and a filling. It’s made very much like a crown, but it requires the alteration of far less natural tooth structure.

Indirect fillings are a great option for support and strength while not compromising the rest of a tooth.

So when it comes down to indirect filling versus direct filling, it’s all about what your tooth needs. Your dentist will help you determine which option is best for you when you head in for an exam.

Posted on behalf of:
Montevallo Family Dentistry
711 Wadsworth St
Montevallo, AL 35115
(205) 665-2224


Signs You May Need a Dental Filling

Posted in Fillings

Getting a filling isn’t exactly at the top of your list of favorite things.

But your tooth may need a filling sooner than you realize. Putting it off could leave you in severe pain or a painful dental bill, at the least.

Here are a few signs you need to see about getting your tooth filled before it needs a crown, root canal, or extraction.

Food and Temperature Sensitivity

If your tooth really zings in the presence of hot drinks, sticky sweets, or sour foods, then that’s a pretty sure sign you have an active cavity.

Dark Spots

A discolored spot that looks dark yellow, gray, brown, or even black could indicate decay. It is normal to have some stain that doesn’t contain a cavity, but if a spot is new or you’re in doubt, get it checked out.

Pain When Chewing

Do you find yourself favoring one side of your mouth over the other when you chew? If a tooth hurts when you chew on it, then that could mean it has a cavity or even a crack.

Rough Edges

Does floss catch and tear on the side of one particular tooth these days? Rough spots can sometimes be the sharp edges of a hole caused by decay.

Damaged or Missing Old Filling

If you already have a filling that’s suffered some wear and tear, it will likely need replacement. A damaged restoration can’t do its job and with time can allow cavity-causing bacteria to sneak into the tooth. The sooner you get the old filling replaced, the more minimal your treatment is likely to be.

Visit your local dentist if you notice any of these signs that you need a filling.

Posted on behalf of:
Crabapple Dental
12670 Crabapple Rd #110
Alpharetta, GA 30004
(678) 319-0123

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