San Francisco Dental Fillings
Strong teeth give you an attractive smile, a comfortable bite, and better oral health. Even with proper care, though, cavities can develop and weaken the structure of your teeth. Small cavities are generally found on the biting surface of the teeth where bacteria can get lodged in pits and crevices, or in between the teeth, which we call “flossing cavities.”
With dental fillings, San Francisco patients can resolve small cavities and prevent bigger issues. Dr. Skoulas uses tooth-colored composites so that your fillings will look and feel just like part of your natural tooth.
The Benefits of Dental Fillings
Dental fillings are a non-invasive and effective treatment for cavities, and they promote the long-term health of your smile. Not all dental fillings are equal, however, as the materials and methods a dentist uses can yield very different results. That’s why Skoulas DDS:
- Selects high-quality components and bonding systems based on current dental research. Dr. Skoulas continually monitors technology, techniques, and other advancements in treatment.
- Chooses dental fillings that minimize postoperative sensitivity and make placement faster. As a result, the process is efficient and much more comfortable for you.
- Takes the time to select color and shade matches for your tooth. Our commitment to every detail means no one will notice that you had a cavity.
What San Francisco Dental Filling Patients Can Expect
Once Dr. Skoulas identifies that you have one or more cavities:
- You will come in for an appointment that should last around 20 minutes (longer for multiple cavities.)
- Dr. Skoulas will remove cavities and place the dental fillings.
- She will chemically bond these composite restorations to the structure of the teeth.
After the procedure, you might have some sensitivity or notice that your teeth feel slightly different. Our materials choices help minimize these sensations. However, if you feel like your bite is off following treatment, Dr. Skoulas can resolve this issue with a five-minute fix; be sure to let our practice know if you have any concerns.
Why You Need Dental Fillings
San Francisco men and women are constantly rushing from work, to social engagements, to outdoor activities, and more. Throughout the day, the billions of bacteria in your mouth will collect on your teeth and form a sticky layer called plaque. The bacteria feed on the food and sugar that gets stuck to the surface of your teeth. As the bacteria eat, they produce a powerful acidic substance as a waste byproduct. Your teeth are protected by a hard layer of enamel (the hardest substance your body can make), but this acid will eventually eat through it. When this happens, cavities are formed.
Now, once the bacteria are through the enamel, they’ll start consuming the soft, porous interior of the tooth. If left untreated, this will cause an infection that can require a root canal or a full tooth extraction to treat. A simple dental filling stops the decay before it gets to that point.
How Dental Fillings Work
The idea with dental fillings is pretty simple: remove the decaying tooth material and fill the hole it with a strong, medical-grade filling material. In the past, dentists used a substance called amalgam that was made up of several different metals including silver and mercury. Thanks to many advancements in modern dentistry, there are much better options for our San Francisco patients. Dr. Skoulas only uses the safest and most cutting-edge materials for our patients’ safety and the longevity of the filling.
The Procedure for Dental Fillings
San Francisco patients that come to Dr. Skoulas for a dental filling will experience some of the most gentle, efficient, and compassionate dental care in the region.
After numbing the area around the tooth to be treated, Dr. Skoulas begins removing the decayed part of the tooth caused by the bacteria. From there, Dr. Skoulas will apply the filling material and ensure that it has set and hardened. If the filling is on the chewing surface of the tooth, Dr. Skoulas will check to see if the patient’s bite and chewing ability isn’t hampered by the filling. She’ll polish the filling down so that the teeth come together comfortably.
Replacing Old Dental Fillings
San Francisco patients that have had dental fillings for many years may sometimes benefit from having them replaced. While fillings can sometimes last for several decades or even a lifetime, there can be several reasons for replacing them.
- Cracks and gaps – Over time the fillings in your teeth can start to crack or pull away from the tooth. This allows bacteria to get deep into the tooth and cause an infection. Replacing the filling will strengthen the teeth and keep them healthy.
- Decay – If your fillings have already cracked or are letting bacteria seep into the inside of your tooth, Dr. Skoulas may recommend replacing them if she sees signs of decay.
- Aesthetics – Some of our San Francisco patients who had silver fillings may want to switch them out for white, tooth-colored composite filling. Not only do some patients find their silver fillings to be unappealing, but in some cases, the fillings can actually turn the teeth a dark gray color.
Signs You Need New Dental Fillings
One of the most common procedures that we do are dental fillings. San Francisco patients that work in the financial district near our offices are often able to come in on their lunch break, get their filling, and head back to work.
But many of our San Francisco patients are often surprised when we tell them that they need a filling. While there are usually some symptoms of cavities, cracks, or chips that need filling, sometimes patients may not experience any at all. Here are a few signs to look for that may indicate you need a filling.
- Tooth pain – Obviously, if your tooth is hurting you should get it checked out. If a cavity is causing it, the pain is from the infection reaching the nerves in your teeth. However, there can still be infections in the tooth that do not cause pain because they haven’t reached the nerves yet.
- Tooth sensitivity – Another common symptom of a cavity is sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet, sour, or sticky foods. This is often the case when the cavity has eaten through the protective layer of enamel on the outside of your teeth.
- Pain when eating – If you experience pain when you bite down into any food, this is also a sign that you may need a dental filling. It can also be an indicator that you may need a new filling. When patients get pain from chewing, it is often the case that the infection has spread to the core of the tooth called the pulp. Many patients find that if they chew slowly they can start to detect which tooth or filling is having an issue.
- Torn floss – Another sign of cavities or a problem with your tooth is torn If you notice that the same tooth always tears your dental floss, it could be caused by a chip in the tooth, a bad filling, or a cavity.
- Dark spots – While most patients expect their cavities to be invisible to the naked eye, this is actually not the case. Many cavities can become large enough that they can be easily seen in your mirror.
- Bad breath – If allowed to become large enough, cavities can start to cause bad breath. This is from the decay and infection causing your breath to smell bad.
- Bad taste – Also, in some cases the infection can start to leave a bad taste in the mouth.
What Happens If You Don’t Get Dental Fillings?
When you start to notice any of the symptoms we just discussed, the best thing you can do is call Dr. Skoulas for a quick examination. We’ll figure out what the problem is and create a treatment plan designed just for you–whether it’s gum disease or dental fillings.
San Francisco patients that fail to get their tooth or gum pain checked out can cause many other more costly and uncomfortable procedures in the future.
- Cavities turn into Root Canals – A simple cavity that is allowed to grow and fester can turn into a much more serious issue that requires a root canal procedure. The infection of the cavity will eventually reach the center of the tooth where it can destroy the pulp and nerves. At this point, a filling will only cover up the infection on the inside of the tooth.
- Cavities turn into Abscess – Another potential outcome of an untreated cavity is an abscess. The infection in the tooth can spread to the gums, jaw, and mouth and cause an abscess.
Is Dental Amalgam Safe for Dental Fillings?
San Francisco patients are some of the most healthy people in the world. We tend to walk a lot, spend time outdoors exercising, and eat good, nutritious food. That’s why a common question we get from our patients is whether or not dental amalgam is safe to use.
Dental amalgam is comprised of different metals that are all held together and bonded with mercury. The mercury allows the metals to fuse together to create a tough, durable, and resilient filling for teeth. But the concern with dental amalgam is that many people believe that it causes mercury poisoning.
Obviously, most people know that mercury is toxic to humans. But when mercury is combined with other metals its properties change and it becomes virtually harmless.
Furthermore, we are exposed to mercury almost daily through water, food, and soil. The amount of mercury exposure that a patient gets through a dental filling is actually smaller than this daily amount.
Finally, both the Food & Drug Administration and the American Dental Association maintain that amalgam fillings are safe.
But if you are not comfortable with getting amalgam fillings, we would love to talk with you about how we can make you feel safe with your dental fillings. San Francisco patients can absolutely discuss their preferences with Dr. Skoulas. We have a variety of premium filling options that we can talk with you about.
What Are Resin Composite Dental Fillings?
One option that many patients choose are resin composite dental fillings. San Francisco patients love this filling material because it looks like the color of their teeth. This means that when you smile, laugh, or open your mouth, people won’t be able to see any dark fillings covering your teeth. Resin composite fillings are used frequently on the teeth that are exposed when you smile.
Resin composites are made out of a combination of compounds derived from ceramic and plastic. But while resin composite is more attractive to many of our San Francisco patients from a cosmetic standpoint, amalgam is actually stronger. But the technology behind resin composite has advanced leaps and bounds just in the last few years. It used to be the case that resin composites couldn’t be used on the back teeth where grinding and chewing created excessive pressure. But now, resin composites can be used on back teeth–but they are not appropriate for all situations. San Francisco patients will need to talk with Dr. Skoulas about the type of dental fillings that are right for their treatment case.
Why Work with Dr. Skoulas for Your Dental Fillings
San Francisco moves at breakneck speed and our patients often have very little time to take care of their oral health. But Dr. Skoulas believes that all of her patients deserve to get top-tier, gentle dental treatment that fits their schedule. Here’s why our patients love coming to our practice.
- After hours treatment – Dr. Skoulas regularly comes in on the weekends and after hours to treat patients that need emergency dental work or whose schedules just don’t let them get away from the office. If you’re passionate about your career but want to make sure your smile and teeth are healthy, then you can contact us today to learn more.
- Education – Dr. Skoulas has received some of the finest dental training in the region. After graduating from UCLA, she finished her dental training at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco.
- Lectures – Dr. Skoulas is a past lecturer at the UCLA School of Dentistry.
- Memberships – Dr. Skoulas is a member of the American Dental Association, Academy of Operative Dentistry, and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
- Charity – Dr. Skoulas also donates her time and skill overseas to give free dental treatment to people who need it most.
One of the most common treatments that we provide at Dr. Skoulas’ practice are dental fillings. San Francisco patients that are suffering from pain and need new fillings or whose dental fillings need replacement should call our offices today.
Schedule an appointment with Skoulas DDS to find out if you need dental fillings. San Francisco patients: contact us online or by phone.