Dental Fillings

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A dental filling is a restorative dentistry treatment that we use to repair small tooth fractures, tooth decay or damage to the structure of your teeth. In many cases, fillings are necessary to restore the function and structure of damaged or unhealthy teeth. At Stanley Dentistry in Cary, NC, our highly trained dentists can invisibly repair and protect damaged teeth or replace unattractive metallic fillings with ones that mimic the look, feel, and function of natural teeth.

What is a cavity?

A cavity is simply the result of tooth decay. When a tooth becomes infected with decay, the harmful bacteria eats away, leaving a small (or large) hole. If left alone, the bacteria from the decay will continue to damage and erode the tooth, eventually leading to tooth loss. This is why we take checking for cavities very seriously at Stanley Dentistry. If we can catch a cavity early on, the hole left from the decay will be small and easy to manage.

Tooth-colored fillings

Stanley Dentistry provides tooth-colored fillings for patients. Tooth-colored fillings are made from durable plastics called composite resins. The fillings are similar in color and texture to natural teeth. The advantages to tooth-colored fillings are that they are less noticeable and more attractive than other fillings.

Composite resins are preferable for most patients since the team at Stanley can blend shades to create a color nearly identical to that of the actual tooth. Composites also bond to the tooth to support the remaining tooth structure, which helps to prevent breakage and insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes.

Removal and replacement of metal fillings

Have old metal fillings that you’d like replaced? We will work with you to remove and replace your metal fillings. With the use of tooth-colored fillings, we can give you back your natural-looking smile!

Most metal fillings are dental amalgam – a stable alloy made up of mercury, silver, tin, copper, and other metals. Replacing metal fillings can also give your smile a stronger, healthier outlook, as composite materials have more strength and durability than the dental amalgams of the past. At Stanley Dentistry, these fillings can be easily removed and replaced with composite resins to give you back the aesthetic look of your smile!


Fillings FAQ

Our dentists use a local anesthetic to numb the area before completing the filling. This ensures that the patient is comfortable and pain-free for the entirety of the procedure. After the filling, most patients experience little to no discomfort and no downtime.
No one wants to hear that they have a cavity. For kids (and parents), “cavity” sounds like a death sentence, and “filling” signifies a long, painful, and expensive procedure. Luckily, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In most cases, cavities require only a short, pain-free appointment to our office in Cary, North Carolina.
During a cavity filling, our dentists administer a local anesthetic to numb the affected area. They then use a small drill to remove the decay from the tooth and kill any existing bacteria. Once the tooth is ready, the dentist places the filling.
At Stanley Dentistry, we typically use a composite resin material for the filling. Composite fillings are tooth-colored and look just like natural teeth. During the procedure, one of our dentists will place the composite (which looks like a paste) into the cleaned cavity. The composite will naturally take on the shape of the cavity as the dentist places it. After the cavity is filled, the dentist will use an ultraviolet light to “cure” (or harden) the composite. Post-op, your dentist will ask you to bite down to make sure the cavity hasn’t affected your natural bite.
Unfortunately, fillings don’t last forever. Fillings typically last around five to ten years though some patients keep their fillings for fifteen to twenty years. The size of the filling is perhaps the biggest factor when considering how long it’ll last. Large fillings have a much higher likelihood of falling out whereas small fillings can frequently last for decades.
If a filling falls out, you will undoubtedly notice. Not only will you have the physical filling as proof, but you’ll also have an exposed nerve that will feel just as painful as it sounds. If this happens, make an appointment with your dental specialist immediately.
In other cases, fillings wear out or crack. Patients don’t always notice when these things happen because they don’t leave the tooth completely exposed (so there typically isn’t a lot of pain). If a filling cracks, you may experience some hot and cold sensitivity but chances are, you won’t know what’s wrong until you visit your dentist. That’s why it’s best to see one of our doctors every six months so they can diagnose any latent filling problems.
Insurance will, in many cases, cover a portion of the cost of fillings. Typically, it’s about a 60% coverage rate if the policy-owner has paid their deductible. Of course, this depends on your specific plan. During your consultation, we will give you a free insurance check to see what your insurance will and won’t cover.
In the last few decades, dentists have exchanged the old method of using amalgam fillings (metal fillings) for more realistic composite, tooth-colored fillings. If you get a new filling, you’ll most likely get a composite filling but there are still millions of people who have old amalgam fillings.
These fillings work fine but a lot of our patients find them unsightly. If they want, we can remove the old filling and place a tooth-colored filling instead. However, if the old filling is intact and in good condition, insurance will not cover a replacement. Replacing an amalgam filling for a composite filling is considered cosmetic.