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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Dental Fillings

How can we help you?

Having questions when choosing a dentist is natural! After all, your oral health is an important part of your overall health. Here is a list of some of the most common questions we receive. If you do not see yours listed below, please give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you.

Dental Fillings

At NOLA Dentures and General Dentistry, we are committed to eliminating the worst effects of tooth decay, namely dental cavities. A cavity is a pit or hole in your tooth enamel created by the accumulation of plaque-causing bacteria. If we catch a cavity in earlier stages, we can fix it with a dental filling.

Because a dental filling procedure involves some tooth preparation, Dr. Shafer will numb your tooth and the surrounding areas for your comfort. You will need to wait several hours before you can eat after receiving a filling. The reason to wait is that while your mouth is numb, you may not feel it if you bite your lips and cheeks while eating. These bite wounds in your mouth can be painful once the anesthetic wears off.

Other Dental Cavity Precautions

Once the sensations in your mouth have returned to normal, you can eat as usual, but we recommend you avoid hard and crunchy foods for the first few days after your procedure. Also, consider avoiding sticky foods like caramel candy, as this could pull your filling from its place.

If you lose a filling, we strongly suggest you visit us to have it replaced right away. Unfilled tooth cavities also grow over time and may penetrate your inner tooth and lead to your need for more serious interventions like root canal therapy or even eventual extraction. Our mission is always to preserve a natural tooth so you can enjoy its benefits for years.

NOLA Dentures and General Dentistry offers two types of dental fillings to treat decay and improve oral health: white or tooth-colored fillings and silver or amalgam fillings. Dr. Schafer can help you determine which type of filling best meets your dental needs and aesthetic preferences.

On average, a silver amalgam filling can last about 15 years before needing replacement, while tooth-colored filling can generally last for 10–12 years. However, the length of time your fillings last vary based on several factors, such as your oral hygiene habits and if you grind and clench your teeth.

The better you care for your teeth, the longer they’re likely to last without needing replacement. If you grind and clench your teeth, we recommend wearing a custom nightguard to protect your teeth and filling from wear and potential breakage.

To extend the lifespan of your fillings and maintain your oral health, we encourage you to visit your dentist for routine dental exams and cleanings. Also, be sure to brush twice daily and floss once daily to keep decay and gum disease at bay. 

Dental Fillings in New Orleans 

Do you have a cavity that needs to be filled? Dr. Schafer offers silver fillings and tooth-colored fillings to patients in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. Please give us a call today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Schafer at our New Orleans dental office. 

Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent health conditions in the world. Though cavities are far too common among children and adults alike, they can be prevented and easily treated with restorative dental care in Gretna. At NOLA Dentures and General Dentistry, we provide comprehensive restorative treatments, including durable, high-quality dental fillings. 

Dental Fillings: What They Are and Why We Need Them 

Made from strong tooth-colored material or amalgam silver, dental fillings protect your teeth from further decay. Cavities form from bacteria and plaque in the mouth, and they can lead to the destruction of your tooth’s structure.

Cavities often cause pain and sensitivity, and they often appear as dark spots on the tooth. If you have a cavity, a dental filling can save your tooth and protect it from severe decay or infection. 

The Dental Filling Process 

During a dental exam in Gretna, your dentist will check your teeth for signs of decay. Cavities often show up as brown spots on the tooth and can cause dental pain or sensitivity. Unfortunately, cavities often go unnoticed until they have already formed, increasing the risk of spread. 

If the dentist identifies a cavity, he or she will anesthetize the tooth, so you don’t feel any pain or discomfort during the treatment. He will then gently and thoroughly remove all of the bacteria in and around the tooth. Finally, he will fill and seal the tooth with a tooth-colored or amalgam dental filling.

Cavities Are Preventable with Consistent Dental Care

Tooth decay is 100 percent preventable if you remain proactive in your oral health care. You can avoid the pain and discomfort of cavities if you practice good dental hygiene and regularly visit your dentist. Flossing daily and brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily helps remove cavity-causing bacteria from in and around your teeth. 

It’s also important you visit your dentist every six months to receive professional dental care. Regular dental exams, cleanings, and digital x-rays allow us to monitor your oral health and catch any issues like cavities early. We can also treat decay early before you need restorative treatment. 

Have a Cavity? We Can Help! 

We provide excellent service to all patients in a friendly, welcoming, and non-judgmental environment. If you suspect you have a cavity and need treatment, please call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled restorative dentists.

We look forward to helping you get your dental health back on track!

Our dentists focus on patient comfort, so we usually numb your mouth before a dental filling. Local anesthetics, like septocaine and lidocaine, make dental procedures relatively painless and easy for patients. A dental filling involves removing decayed tissue from the tooth and restoring the tooth to its former strength and appearance. Without anesthesia, some patients may feel a twinge of discomfort during the filling procedure. 

Our dental team is highly skilled in providing gentle dentistry to patients of all ages. In addition to offering anesthesia, we also use advanced technology and techniques to streamline procedures and attain the best results possible. 

A Little about Dental Fillings 

Dental fillings can restore a decayed or damaged tooth while preserving natural aesthetics. At NOLA Dentures and General Dentistry, we offer metal and tooth-colored fillings to protect your smile. Many of our patients prefer tooth-colored fillings because they match the color of their natural smile. 

Also, patients with metal allergies opt for tooth-colored fillings because they’re made from composite resin. Silver amalgam fillings are a lower-cost alternative to white composite fillings, and we often use them for deep cavities or on back teeth because of their durability. 

Do You Need Dental Fillings in New Orleans? 

Your smile deserves the best dentistry, and our team is here to help you. Our dental fillings are attractive and durable so that you can enjoy your smile without worry.

Couple smiling | Dentist Gretna LA The most common reason to replace a silver filling is that the tooth develops another cavity or if the tooth has chipped or cracked. Usually, a cavity will show up on a visual exam or on an x-ray and can be fixed quickly before the damage spreads. In cases of chips and cracks, these may show up before as small crack lines in a tooth and whether the tooth needs to be repaired is determined on a case by case basis.

Why Replace a Silver Filling?

Another common reason to replace silver fillings is due to the look of the silver filling. While this is a fine reason, Dr. Schafer encourages each of his patients to decide if the silver filling is easy to see or if only the dentist, you, and your significant other can see it. Often silver fillings are placed on the back teeth or molars where it is difficult to see in a conversation. If the silver filling does show in your smile, it is a great reason to have it replaced with a white filling. However, replacing silver fillings with white fillings can cause prolonged sensitivity or the possible need for a further treatment if the tooth's nerve is damaged. Whenever a tooth has surgical treatment done to it like a filling, the tooth is damaged and may take some time to heal up properly.

The third common reason is fear of the toxicity of silver fillings. The media such as Dr. Oz have made much money fear mongering and convincing many people to have all their sturdy silver fillings replaced out of fear of any number of illness. Dr. Schafer does not believe that there is any substantiated link between amalgam fillings and health problems.  While Dr. Schafer will remove and replace silver fillings for cosmetic purposes, he highly discourages replacing them due to fear. Replacing white fillings in a person's mouth not only costs money the first time it is done but as most white fillings do not last as long as silver fillings, they are more expensive to maintain as they need to be replaced more often.

If you are concerned about your silver fillings, please call us today and Dr. Schafer and his team will be happy to discuss your options.

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