Dental Fillings in Van Nuys, CA
Although we’re sad to admit it, most of us adults have had at least one cavity in our lifetimes. Some of us have had more than just one cavity, which means we’re all too familiar with the process of treating those cavities.
Cavities and dental decay are widespread oral health problems, despite most occurrences of decay being entirely preventable. When cavities develop in teeth, they eat away tooth enamel and leave small holes in their wake. If dentists don’t treat these cavities, they will grow and cause further damage.
At The Dental Care Center in Van Nuys, there is a straightforward and cost-effective way to treat cavities: dental fillings.
- What are cavities?
- Why do I need a filling?
- Can I prevent cavities?
- What types of dental fillings are available to me?
- How will my dentist place my filling?
What are cavities?
The purpose of dental fillings in Van Nuys is to repair teeth that have become damaged by cavities.
Cavities develop when food particles stay on your teeth long enough that bacteria in your mouth start to feed on the particles. When this happens, your teeth form a layer of plaque that hardens and eventually turns to tartar, which only professional dental instruments can remove.
When this plaque and tartar begin to attack your teeth, they will eat through your outer layer of enamel and, if left unchecked, eventually work their way into your tooth’s interior. At the beginning of this process, the plaque will create small holes in your tooth enamel.
These holes, or cavities, will cause significant damage to your smile if you don’t treat them. Cavities grow and will eventually infect the interior of your teeth, meaning you will need root canal treatment and possibly even tooth extraction. Chronic cavities can also lead to bone loss throughout your mouth.
Cavities can cause:
- Pain and sensitivity
- Problems with chewing
- Swelling or abscess
- Tooth loss
- Serious oral infections
If you have a cavity in Van Nuys, CA, you need a dental filling right away if you want to protect your teeth. Contact our clinical team at The Dental Care Center to schedule your filling.
Why do I need a filling?
When you get a cavity, your dentist has to remove the decay and infected material to stop the disease from spreading.
Once your 91405 dentist removes the infection, however, your tooth will be weaker because it’s lost some of its natural structure and support. Once the decay is gone, your tooth will have less material than it did before and will feel more hollow, which makes the tooth susceptible to breakages.
Thankfully, this is where dental fillings come in. Fillings provide a way for your tooth to be filled with an artificial material that will help strengthen it and allow you to bite down while chewing without having to worry about breaking your tooth or experiencing pain.
Dental fillings in Van Nuys let you keep your natural teeth strong and healthy, even if cavities once attacked them.
Can I prevent cavities?
Yes, you can largely prevent cavities by keeping excellent oral hygiene habits and sticking to a healthy diet.
Most cavities develop as a result of poor oral hygiene and general neglect of tooth health. Your teeth are resilient, but they cannot stay strong against a constant force of sugary drinks and unhealthy snacking. To keep your smile healthy and minimize cavities, you should:
- Brush your teeth ideally after every snack or meal, but at least twice each day
- Floss every night before you go to bed
- Drink water with fluoride, which might mean giving up your bottled water habit
- Limit your intake of sweets, starchy snacks, and drinks such as soda and juice
- Chew sugarless gum and drink water after every meal or snack to clear away food particles and promote saliva production
- Prioritize your six-month dental cleanings so your Van Nuys dentist can remove any tartar buildup from your teeth
- Avoid excessive snacking, as frequent eating puts your teeth at a higher risk for decay
Sometimes, even despite your best efforts, you may develop a cavity. Once you become aware of your cavity, you’ll need to schedule a tooth filling in Van Nuys right away. Contact our dental office at (818) 781-1533, and our caring clinical staff will take care of you immediately.
What types of dental fillings are available to me?
Two of the most common types of fillings available are amalgam and composite. Amalgams are being used less and less these days, with most dentists and patients preferring the more modern composite type.
However, you as the patient have the choice of which filling material you would prefer depending on your needs and lifestyle.
Dentists have used amalgam fillings for decades. These fillings typically have great success, given their low cost, durability, and resistance to wear. They are a good option for molars in the back of the mouth because they are strong and able to withstand the force of chewing. Typically, these fillings are a combination of metals, including silver, tin, copper, and mercury.
For all their practicality, however, amalgams come with some drawbacks as well. Amalgam fillings are a dark gray color, so they are not usually a good option where they would be visible in a person’s mouth.
If you have ever had a metal filling, you have likely experienced sensitivity to hot or cold for a short period after you received the restoration. Also, amalgam fillings have a tendency to expand and contract, which places a lot of pressure on the tooth structure and can eventually lead to fractures or cracks on the tooth or a broken, leaking filling.
Composite fillings have grown in both popularity and quality since dentists first introduced them to the dental community in the 1980s. Composite resin fillings are made up of microscopic-sized particles of glass or quartz and they match the color of a natural tooth, so they are virtually invisible. This makes them a good option for not only filling cavities that might be visible when a person speaks or smiles but also for repairing chips and cracks in teeth.
Another benefit is that composite resin fillings bond to the structure of the tooth, ultimately strengthening it—even under the force of chewing. Plus, we need to remove less of the natural tooth when the dentist is prepping for the filling.
These fillings are not conducive to hot and cold sensitivity, which makes them ideal for patients who already have sensitive teeth.
How will my 91405 dentist place my filling?
Our Van Nuys dentists can usually place your dental filling in one short visit to our office. If your cavity is small enough, we can fill your tooth in as little as twenty or thirty minutes.
You will receive an anesthetic to numb your mouth before we begin your treatment. After the area around the tooth with the decay is numb, we use a small drill and other dental instruments to remove the decay from your tooth.
Next, your dentist will ensure that there is no bacteria or debris of any kind in the area. Once the filling material is put into the tooth, your dentist will trim any excess material and shape it so it is comfortable to bite down. The final, well-fitting filling will then be polished, and you will be free to go home.
It’s normal for the area around your tooth to stay numb for several hours after your treatment as the anesthetic wears off. You should stick to a soft diet for a few days after your treatment and use over-the-counter painkillers to manage any soreness or sensitivity.
Dental Fillings at the Dental Care Center in Van Nuys, CA
The faster you treat your cavity, the easier your dental filling will be.
If you think you might need a filling, or if your dentist has confirmed a cavity in your smile, contact our dental office right away. We will get you in for treatment right away, and we can go over filling options with you to determine which might be best for your situation.