Filling a tooth is quite a bit more complex than the average person realizes. To begin with, the natural tooth is a tool that your body uses three times a day (more than that for those of us who are snackers!) to crush food items and prepare them for digestion. That is a big job, and for a filling to keep up with the rest of the teeth for the long term, it must be made of some very specialized materials. Another factor that your dentist faces when filling a tooth, however, is the fact that he is attempting to integrate an artificial substance very closely with the natural teeth, gums, tongue, and other parts of the mouth that function as a unit. For this integration to be successful, the filling must be as accurate, high-quality, and skillfully performed as possible. In this post, we’ll introduce you to a few of the advanced technologies that we use to get fillings just right.
If you have ever peered inside someone’s mouth to look for a dental problem, you know that the space is very small and difficult to see clearly! Traditionally, dentists and their assistants have used very bright lighting and mirrors to get a good view of teeth that need to be repaired, but the invention of intraoral cameras have changed all that. Today, we use a very small, unobtrusive camera that doesn’t feel much different from a toothbrush in the patient’s mouth. The camera includes powerful LED lights that illuminate the mouth’s interior like a movie set, and it automatically adjusts in range to focus on an individual tooth, its surrounding teeth, or the entire arch. The dentist can view the picture in real time on a large screen, giving him an unprecedented opportunity to see a damaged tooth in full color and larger than life!
Intraoral cameras are incredibly valuable because the planning process is the foundation for an accurate, successful filling. With a clear view of exactly how much of the tooth is damaged, what the nature of the damage is, and how the damage has affected the surrounding area, the dentist can confidently plan the filling and be ready for a speedy, effective procedure with a high chance for long-term success.
If you imagine your brand new filling bumping against the teeth above or below it every time you take a bite, you can easily see how important it is that the filling have no protruding edges. A mismatched shape to the filling will put pressure on it with every bite impact, potentially shaking it loose. Not only that, but the impact on the opposite natural teeth can cause damage to them as well. One of the most important skills that you depend on your dentist for when it comes to fillings is creating a fit that matches the rest of your teeth with the precision of a jigsaw puzzle.
Articulating paper is a key tool that we use to achieve this precision. When you bite down on this paper, it makes an impression of your teeth, which your dentist can then use to create a mold for the new filling. As you can anticipate, the paper must be engineered to retain the impression of your bite accurately without stretching back into its original shape over time. We rely on AccuFilm®, an incredibly reliable product that the nation’s best dentists have gravitated toward to give their patients the best fillings possible.
When it comes down to it, the best tool in our filling toolbox is the dentist’s personal experience. All the technology in the world will not create a perfect filling if the dentist lacks the skill necessary to understand what he sees, respond to unexpected factors revealed during the procedure, and address your mouth’s unique needs appropriately. From investigating potential cavities with an intraoral camera to preparing a damaged tooth for the insertion of a new filling, your long-term oral health depends on your dentist being experienced and knowledgeable.
Dr. Ladimer and his team have just the extensive history with fillings and other dentistry procedures that you should insist on when seeking out help with dental problems. Please get in touch with us today for the best dentistry services in the Raleigh area.