Dental Fillings Santa Monica, CA

Dental Fillings An Overview

Dental fillings are a standard procedure offered as part of our comprehensive dental services. Dr. Dall’Almo uses dental fillings to repair damage caused to the teeth by decay. Tooth decay compromises the integrity of the structure of the tooth. Dental fillings are used to prevent further damage to the natural tooth structure.

Dr. Dall’Olmo strives to conserve the natural tooth structure. Retaining as much of the natural tooth as possible helps to stabilize the overall well-being and function of the bite and jaw bone and supports long-term oral health. Through patient education, preventive dental care, and established patient-dentist relationships, Dr. Dall’Omlmo offers thorough, quality dental care.

Inlays and Onlays

Sometimes there are teeth that have more decay than a dental filling can treat. If the area is too large, the filling won’t be stable enough for your daily life. But the decay may not be severe enough to warrant a dental crown, either. In these cases, inlays and onlays come into play. They’re the perfect middle ground between a filling and a dental crown.

Inlays treat the biting surface of your tooth in between the cusps. It would go down into the hollow of a molar, for instance, but doesn’t include the cusps at all. An onlay treats both the biting surface and the cusps. It’s sometimes called a partial dental crown for this purpose. Like with fillings, your tooth is prepared the same way.

What Causes Dental Cavities?

Cavities are caused by tooth decay and develop over time. When you’re eating a lot of sugary or starchy foods and aren’t brushing your teeth well, a substance called plaque forms. It’s a clear, sticky film that lays on your teeth. If you continue to leave it go, it hardens into tartar. Tartar acts like a shield, keeping those bacteria on your teeth and making it harder to get rid of them.

In the plaque, bacteria feed off of sugar and produce acidic byproducts. Erosion starts to form small holes in your enamel, the hard outer layer of your teeth. This is the first stage of a cavity. The enamel continues to wear away until the bacteria make it to the dentin, the next layer of your tooth. Since it’s softer, the acid can get through it faster. It has nerve endings in it, too, causing the pain you experience when you have a cavity.

The bacteria continue to eat their way through your tooth until they reach the inner layer of the dental pulp. This is a soft tissue that contains nerves and blood vessels for your tooth. The pulp gets swollen and irritated, causing more pain and pressure.

The biggest factor for cavities is your diet and not brushing your teeth well enough. The molars are also the most susceptible to cavities because of all of their nooks and crannies. Plus, they’re the teeth we use most for chewing. Dry mouth brought on by medications can increase the likelihood because you don’t have enough saliva to wash bacteria away.

If I could give 10 stars I would. Over the weekend I was having severe shooting pain in my jaw, head and neck due to a deeply decade/infected molar. ER helped by providing me with pain killers to keep me…Jessica R.
... My recent gum graft surgery... 2 surgeries actually. The first was so great, I came in for another ;) jk. All jokes aside, the doctor and his staff are competent, professional, patient and accommodating. This all makes for a…Jose B.
Absolutely incredible oral surgeon. Highly recommend. I went to so many places before finally choosing this office, and had the hardest time with all the other doctors. Then I met him, and he put me and my worries at ease.…Diana P.

Dental Fillings What to Expect

Regular 6-month dental checkups and dental cleanings can help patients avoid the development of tooth decay. Tooth decay is a leading cause of tooth loss, and if caught early, it can be managed without the need for tooth extraction. Twice daily brushing and flossing can also help prevent the development of tooth decay and other oral health concerns. Practicing dental hygiene is an essential part of conservative dentistry.

The dental filling treatment procedure can typically be completed in one visit to our Santa Monica dentist office. Patients are frequently surprised at how comfortable the procedure can be. Using a local anesthetic, the area will be numbed and prepared for treatment.

Dr. Dall’Olmo will remove all of the decayed tissue from the tooth. The tooth will be thoroughly cleaned and dried. Then, either a white cosmetic filling or a metal amalgam filling will be used to fill the space and bonded to the tooth. The filling will help stabilize the tooth structure and prevent further decay or damage to the infected tooth.

Dental Fillings FAQs

Is a dental fillings procedure painful?

No. It is normal to feel discomfort when the dentist preps the tooth near the nerve in cases of extensive cavities. However, the dentist will use anesthesia if necessary to make the procedure painless and comfortable for the patient.

How long should you wait to eat after a dental fillings procedure?

The type of dental filling you received will determine when you should eat. If you received an amalgam filling, your dentist will probably recommend you wait at least 24 hours before chewing or eating on the side of your filling. If your dentist gave you a composite filling, you can generally eat after leaving the dentist’s office. But you may have to wait 2 hours or more if you are still numb.

Do dental fillings stain?

Yes, tooth-colored dental fillings can stain over time. Especially when regularly consuming highly pigmented foods or beverages, such as coffee, wine, tomato, and even tobacco. However, this process takes time.

How long do dental fillings last?

Dental fillings can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years on average.
But the time can vary depending on the patient’s care and dental habits. How often you grind or clench your teeth can also be a factor in how long your fillings will last.

How many appointments does it take to get dental fillings?

A single-tooth dental filling can be completed in one appointment. Indirect fillings will likely require the use of a dental lab and no more than two dental appointments. If the patient requires extensive dental fillings in numerous teeth, the whole process can take more than one appointment.

What will happen if I don’t receive dental fillings for my cavities?

Cavities’ damage can gradually progress and eventually lead to fractures, pain, and dental infections. Therefore, the treatment will become more invasive over time as the damage to the hard tissues of the tooth are irreversible. You should treat your dental cavities as soon as you can.