Distinguished Dentistry in Alexandria, VA
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Tooth Fillings in Alexandria

Routine Dental Procedures in a Comfortable & Relaxed Atmosphere

Fillings are the single most common dental treatment. Given to patients who have small to medium range decay on their teeth, fillings do exactly what their name suggests – they fill the hole caused by the decay and protect the rest of the tooth.

What Causes the Decay that Might Lead to a Filling?

Bacteria are the primary cause of tooth decay. Although bacteria can be found everywhere, it is particularly prevalent inside our mouths where it sits comfortably on our teeth and is referred to as plaque. Plaque produces a powerful acid that erodes our teeth unless it is removed frequently.

This is why brushing at least twice a day is important as it removes the harmful bacteria that sticks to and damages our teeth. Flossing and antibacterial mouthwash also help to remove any plaque that gets stuck between your teeth and in those oral locations that it is difficult to reach with a toothbrush.

Types of Fillings

If your dentist recommends that you need a filling, then there will probably be several different varieties available to you. The two most common types of filling are amalgam and composite resin.

Amalgam Fillings

The oldest type of filling known to have been used in dentistry, amalgam fillings are usually referred to as mercury or silver fillings thanks to their metallic appearance. In actual fact, they are comprised of copper, mercury, silver, tin, and zinc which; when blended together; are soft enough to be able to be molded into a suitable filling before they harden and form a protective covering. Some people have questioned the use of mercury in fillings, and while mercury in its pure form is toxic, when used in amalgam it becomes completely safe.

Amalgam fillings are stronger and more resilient than composite resin varieties, and need to be replaced much less often. However, in order to place amalgam fillings, it is sometimes necessary for your dentist to remove some of the healthy tooth as it doesn’t bond to the existing tooth structure in the same way that composite resin fillings do.

Composite Resin

Composite resin fillings are becoming increasingly popular thanks to their most aesthetically pleasing appearance. Known more commonly as white fillings or direct veneers, they can be color-matched to the rest of your teeth. The composite resin starts out with a consistency similar to that of modelling clay, allowing it to be pushed into place. Your dentist then shines a special blue light on to it, creating an invisible chemical reaction which causes it to harden.

Composite resin isn’t as strong as amalgam, but they are generally easier to fit as they bond to the existing tooth. They are particularly good for teeth in the front of the mouth if you are concerned about having metallic fillings showing. Unfortunately, they are also more expensive than amalgam.

What Will Happen During My Filling Procedure?

Fillings can usually be successfully performed in just one visit to the dentist. You will almost always receive a local anesthetic by way of injection into the mouth. This will numb the entire area to be worked on and as such you shouldn’t feel any pain. Your dentist may also apply numbing gel ahead of the injection.

Once the anesthetic has started working, your dentist will probably place a rubber dam into your mouth which keeps the rest of your mouth dry while the dentist works on your tooth. Alternatively, you may be offered a bite block which helps to prop your mouth open and lets your dentist work quickly.

Once you are ready and the tooth to be worked on is exposed, your dentist will begin removing the decayed area. This is usually carried out using a high speed drill which may sound loud and high pitched, but due to the anesthetic should cause you no pain. The drill sprays water while it works to wash away the decay and help keep the area clean, and your dentist will probably use suction to draw the water away from your mouth. After the decay has been removed, your dentist may switch to a slower drill to refine the area of the tooth to be filled. This slower drill can cause vibrations in your mouth, but again it should not cause you any pain.

When all of the preparation has been complete, your dentist will then use the filler of your choice to build your tooth back up and make it look complete again. The processes for amalgam and composite resin fillings are slightly different, but neither should take too long and your dentist will ensure that you are left with a smooth and comfortable finish.

Looking After Your Fillings

You can look after your filled teeth by following a normal oral hygiene routine including brushing, flossing and using mouthwash regularly. Occasionally fillings do come loose or fall out. If this happens then you should contact your dentist as soon as possible so that you can rectify the filling before further damage is done to the tooth.

Your Alexandria dentist will find any cavities during your routine cleaning and fill them to prevent further decay. Call King Centre Dental at (703) 854-9955 to schedule your appointment today.

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Patient Information

Going to the Dentist

Shouldn't Be Like Pulling Teeth
  • Full-service dentistry solution

    We provide a wide variety of services and procedures to address all of your dental needs under one roof.

  • Competent and trustworthy dentists

    Dr. Clark and the team at King Centre Dental provide quality dental care to patients in the Alexandria area.

  • Treatment for patients of all ages

    We treat patients of all ages, providing anything from general dentistry to reconstruction.

  • State-of-the-art technology

    We stay up-to-date on the most effective dental procedures and use state-of-the-art technology.

  • Compassionate, patient-centered care

    We believe in taking the time to truly understand your dental needs, goals, and lifestyle.

  • Sedation for patients with dental anxiety

    In order to make our patients comfortable, we offer sedation for dental anxiety.

  • Accessible hours, including on Saturday

    Because it can be hard to find time for the dentist, we offer convenient hours to fit your busy schedule.

  • Comfortable, pampering environment

    We have created an atmosphere where everyone can feel comfortable, relaxed, and at home.

PATIENT TESTIMONIALS

A Good Smile is Worth the While
  • “They are a wonderful addition to this community. I hope I get to work with them more!”

    Marcia E.

  • “Hands down, the best office staff, hygienists in the area!”

    Melanie H.

  • “Personable, patient and willing to help you!”

    Bianca P.

  • “I would give more stars if I could!”

    K.W.

  • “Dentist and assistants were very knowledgeable and friendly”

    Russ C.

  • “Dr. Jones was so sweet & was able to get my son to open his mouth without a fight.”

    Jes F.

  • “Dr. Clark has restored my faith in gentle dentistry.”

    Paul R.

  • “Dr. made it easy this time. All that worry for nothing!”

    Frank P.

  • “I smile all the time now just because I can! ”

    Former Patient

  • “Handled my husband's dental phobia with patience and charm.”

    Pat P.

  • “I look forward to being a patient of his for many years.”

    Judy H.

  • “I don't dread going to the dentist anymore.”

    Carleen A.

  • “They will be given all my future dental needs.”

    Laurie C.

  • “I not only feel wonderful, I look much better based on the comments I receive daily.”

    Former Patient

Associations

  • Academy of International Dentistry
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • Oral Aesthetic Advocacy Group
  • ICOI
  • American Academy of Implant Dentistry
  • American Board of Oral Implantology