Dental fillings, whether direct or indirect, involve removing some tooth structure and replacing it with a filling material. Most people are familiar with the use of fillings for cavities, but fillings also are used for teeth that have been cracked or worn down. Below is a look at how fillings are used in these cases.
Fillings for Cavities
When a tooth has a cavity, the decayed area must be removed completely to prevent the decay from spreading after treatment. Removal of tooth structure is also done to ensure a durable, long-lasting result. Even decay along the gum line can usually be drilled and filled.
Fillings for Cracked or Worn Teeth
Teeth that have cracks or wear, such as from teeth grinding, may require fillings for cosmetic purposes, to prevent sensitivity, or to block decay from developing. A variable amount of tooth structure may be removed to make way for the filling material.
Metal fillings are still common, but tooth-colored fillings are now more often chosen for their cosmetic benefits and lack of mercury. With proper care, fillings can last for more than a decade. You can contact our San Francisco dentist to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we use dental fillings.