Fillings - Garden Ridge Center For Dentistry


Dental restorations, commonly known as “fillings”, are used for a variety of reasons. One of the main indications for a filling is to repair a tooth that has decay, or a cavity. A filling may also be indicated if a tooth is broken or worn. Fillings may also be used in cosmetic dentistry to make esthetic improvements to our smile.

Types of Fillings - Garden Ridge Center For Dentistry

Types of Fillings

There are numerous restorative materials that may be used for fillings. Your dentist will help you decide which material is best for your specific situation. In the past, restorations were often made up of metal amalgam, or “silver fillings”. These amalgam restorations are a mix of different metals and are typically silver in color. While metal fillings are very strong and long lasting, they are not as cosmetic, and patients often don’t like the dark appearance. Bonded composite resin fillings come in various tooth colored shades which allow them to be placed even in front teeth without compromising esthetics. Bonded resin restorations are strong, and blend in with the surrounding natural teeth. Bonded resins are the most common filling type placed today. There is an additional type of bonded filling material called glass ionomer that will slowly release fluoride to help prevent future decay. Glass ionomer is especially useful for patients that are at high risk for developing cavities, or to fill sensitive areas like root surfaces.

Tooth Decay - Garden Ridge Center For Dentistry

Tooth Decay

What causes decay? Tooth decay, or a cavity, is caused by bacteria found in plaque. When this bacteria comes into contact with sugars or starches in our diet, it produces an acid. When a tooth is exposed to acid over an extended period of time, the outer layer, or enamel, starts to weaken, break down, and de-mineralize. In the early stages, a white spot may appear on the tooth- this is the first sign of a cavity and means that the tooth has de-mineralized there. At this early stage, the process can be stopped or even reversed with fluoride, which re-mineralizes the tooth. However, if the process continues, and the enamel breaks down completely in that area, a cavity must be treated and filled. If the cavity is not treated in a timely manner, it can be very destructive and lead to infection, fracture, or even tooth loss.

Cavities - Garden Ridge Center For Dentistry


Cavities can be identified by your dentist during an exam and when evaluating your x-rays. Once tooth decay is found, your dentist will develop a treatment plan based on the location of the decay and the type of restoration recommended. If caught early, cavities can be treated easily with a minimal amount of tooth structure removed. When ignored and left untreated, decay can lead to unnecessary pain and more costly treatment like root canals or crowns. Fillings, like our natural teeth, need to be maintained with a healthy diet, brushing, flossing in-between teeth, and regular dental check-ups.

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