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What Is a Tooth Filling?

Do you have tooth fillings? If you're like most Americans, you have three, says Science Daily. Why are these restorations so common and so necessary? At Dr. Mitchell Pasenkoff's dental practice in Norfolk, MA, tooth fillings repair decay anywhere in the mouth, and they do it beautifully.

That awful tooth decay

Did you know that it plagues both kids and adults despite great at-home and in-office dental care? Did you know that it's really a bacterial attack on your tooth enamel?

It's true. Cavities begin in soft plaque and hard tartar on and between teeth. Both form from a mix of your saliva and food particles. Strep mutans are the bacteria that live in these residues. It secretes acids on your tooth enamel, causing symptoms of decay such as:

  • A noticeable dark spot and hole on the tooth surface
  • Dental sensitivity to chewing, heat, and cold
  • Bad breath
  • Toothache pain and even drainage as decay advances into the tooth pulp

How your dentist can help

Of course, preventive care is your first line of defense against decay. Flossing, brushing, a low-carbohydrate diet, and exams and cleanings with Dr. Pasenkoff in his Norfolk, MA, office are wonderful tools. They protect your smile and can limit the number of fillings you may require over a lifetime.

However, when decay sneaks in, Dr. Pasenkoff will detect it on exam or X-ray. Then, he'll choose material appropriate for the size and location of your cavity.

The filling procedure

Most people benefit from the local anesthetic so they feel comfortable during their treatments. Dr. Pasenkoff then removes the damaged portions with small, handheld instruments and a high-speed drill. Once the site is fully prepared, he can add the proper filling material.

Today's filling materials include:

  • Composite resin, a tooth-colored material known for its realistic appearance, flexibility, and seamless cavity repair.
  • Porcelain, a highly durable material designed with special computer software and bonded into larger areas of decay (these fillings are also called inlays, onlays or partial crowns)
  • Glass ionomer, a fluoride-infused filling suited to the sides of a tooth or decay on roots

Additional uses

Dr. Pasenkoff may use a filling when a tooth cracks in an accident. Also, it can stop further damage on a weak tooth or build up worn dental surfaces.

Find out more

No one wants a cavity, but if you do develop one, count on Dr. Mitchell Pasenkoff for the right filling choice. If it's time for your check-up and cleaning, call our Norfolk, MA, for your appointment: (508) 528-5351.

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Mitchell S. Pasenkoff DMD

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