A BRIEF RUNDOWN OF TOOTH-COLORED FILLINGS
Chances are, every time you have to go to your dentist in Humble, TX, you're hoping that he or she won't find a cavity. In fact, almost everyone will have a cavity or two at some point. If you've had a cavity recently, it was probably filled with a tooth-colored filling. The modern alternative to the old, silver fillings, tooth-colored fillings are made of a composite resin material that fills and seals a cavity after the rotten area has been removed. Unlike metal amalgam fillings, tooth-colored fillings blend perfectly with your own teeth to keep your smile looking great. Because tooth-colored fillings are one of the most common procedures done at Park Lakes Dental Care, we would like to go over some of the most frequent questions our patients have about them.
WHAT WILL I HAVE TO PAY FOR TOOTH-COLORED FILLINGS?
Your cost for a tooth-colored filling is determined by many factors. Two main factors are the diameter of the cavity and if sedation is needed. Filling a cavity is a minor procedure, so it can generally be done with only local anesthesia in a short appointment. However, if you experience dental fears or a strong gag reflex, sedation, for example, nitrous oxide ("laughing" gas) or oral-conscious medication, might be recommended. For patients who have dental insurance, the practice should verify your coverage before billing you for the remaining amount. For those who don't carry insurance, many dental practices in Humble, TX offer flexible payment plans or accept low-interest medical financing. Almost invariably, it's cheaper to fix a cavity with a tooth-colored filling than to neglect the problem until it gets bigger.
REPERCUSSIONS IF YOU DON'T GET A RECOMMENDED FILLING
Choosing to ignore your dentist's diagnosis of a cavity and recommendation to get a tooth-colored filling can cause more problems and costlier fixes in the future. If a cavity grows too extensive for a tooth-colored filling, it may be treated with either an inlay or onlay. These treatments are larger than fillings but smaller than crowns. Inlays and onlays are individually made to fit over the decayed area once it has been cleaned. If the decay has made its way to the interior of the tooth, a root canal will have to be done. Root canal therapy removes the infected pulp inside the tooth, and, often, the tooth is then covered with a custom crown for protection. Delaying seeking professional help can cause the infection to move on to your other teeth, gums, and jawbone and, ultimately, to get into your bloodstream and affect your overall health. In short, the longer you put off fixing a cavity, the more drawn out, more invasive, more expensive, and more painful the treatment will be. This is why it is crucial to get annual oral health check-ups with a dentist in Humble, TX so they can diagnose and treat cavities early.
METHODS YOU CAN USE TO PREVENT CAVITIES
At this point, you've probably realized that it would be simpler (and cheaper) to avoid cavities altogether. While no one is completely immune from getting cavities, there are lots of things we can do to protect our teeth:
- FLOSS EVERY DAY
Cavities also develop between your teeth and along your gum line. That's why it's important that you floss at least once a day. Flossing removes the debris stuck in your teeth and helps to stimulate your gums. At your next dental cleaning, ask your dentist or hygienist to demonstrate the appropriate flossing technique so that you get the optimal benefits from your daily routine.
- PREVENTIVE TREATMENTS
If you are prone to getting cavities or just would like to be more proactive in avoiding them, you could ask your dentist about options for preventive treatments. While they are more often recommended for younger patients, dental sealants and professional fluoride treatments could also be smart choices for some adults. Dental sealants are a clear, flexible material that is put on the back teeth to help prevent pit and fissure cavities from developing in the irregular top surfaces of the premolars and molars. Professional fluoride treatments help in strengthening the enamel and warding off cavities. Generally, sealants and fluoride treatments are covered by dental insurance only for younger patients, but it's a smart investment for adults who want to avoid developing cavities.
- BRUSH YOUR TEETH TWICE A DAY
Brushing your teeth with a fluoridated toothpaste at least twice a day or after you eat is one of the most important things you can do to avoid cavities. The best times to brush are in the morning after breakfast and again after dinner. This habit will help with getting rid of the food debris and bacteria before they begin to develop into a cavity. For those who it's not feasible to brush after eating lunch, you can still rinse with mouthwash.
- GET PROFESSIONAL CLEANINGS BI-ANNUALLY
An appropriate home oral care routine is very important in preventing cavities, but getting professional cleanings at least twice a year at a dentist's office in Humble, TX is also key. During your professional cleaning, a dental hygienist will gently scale your enamel to remove any areas of built-up plaque and tartar beneath your gum line. If you brush and floss every day, there is usually very little buildup, but most people will have some, typically along the gum line or in areas that are difficult to reach, like the back molars. Getting bi-annual cleanings at the dentist will aid in the removal of buildup before it turns into a cavity. You may also ask your hygienist to tell you where they found the most plaque and tartar so you can focus on these areas more closely when you brush at home.
AN ALTERNATIVE DENTAL TREATMENT FOR CAVITIES
If you happen to get a cavity, you need to get it treated right away with a tooth-colored filling at a dental practice in Humble, TX. If you are in the market for a great dentist who offers innovative treatments like tooth-colored fillings, schedule an appointment at Park Lakes Dental Care. Our staff of dental professionals can work with patients of all ages for any current issues and help you avoid future problems to keep your smile healthy.