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Tooth Fillings

Updated: Apr 3


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We’re Lucky We Are To Have Tooth Fillings

Few people get excited when you start talking about tooth fillings. For some, the topic brings back memories ranging from unpleasant to downright nightmarish. However, consider the alternative. Without fillings to treat cavities and seal our teeth, the decay would spread until it rotted away our teeth, likely causing other infections along the way, some of them potentially fatal. Compared to that fate, I’m grateful I’ve had the opportunity to get tooth fillings!

How Do Tooth Fillings Work?

A cavity starts with a hole in the enamel of the tooth. This hole can come from trauma, or, more typically, from erosion due to the presence of sugars and acids. Once the hole forms, it allows for a pocket of bacteria to form in the tooth, which leads to decay. Before a filling can be placed, this decay must be removed. This is why we have to drill cavities before we fill them.

Fortunately, Dr. Snyder uses the latest technology in pain free dentistry and painless anesthetic delivery to fill cavities with as little discomfort as possible.

Once the decayed area has been ground away from the tooth and the surface is prepared, the filling can be placed. Dr. Snyder uses dental composite as well as porcelain restorations, which perfectly match the color of the tooth.

Composite restorations – these types of restorations blend in with the teeth, have great fit, and avoid the negative aspects of metal fillings. However, they will eventually wear to to the point where they will need to be replaced, often in about 10 years.

Porcelain restorations – dental porcelain restorations can also be matched to the color of the tooth, and have the advantage of being very hard and long lasting. Porcelain restorations can last 30 years or more, but they aren’t the right fit for every application.


At-Home Care For Tooth Fillings

After you receive a tooth filling, there is at-home care:


  1. Practice Good Oral Hygiene To help prevent tooth decay, you should brush your teeth after meals, floss at least once a day, and use a fluoride mouthwash.

  2. Avoid Acidic and Sugary Foods Avoid eating acidic or sugary foods, as these can damage tooth enamel.

  3. Avoid Tobacco Products Cigarette smoking and chewing tobacco can both cause oral cancer, gum disease, and tooth decay.

  4. See Your Dentist Regularly Regular appointments with your dentist can help prevent cavities and other dental problems.


Oh No, My Filling Just Fell Out!

Oh no, my filling just fell out and I don’t know what to do! First step, don’t panic.

Tooth fillings come loose and fall out for different reasons. Sometimes flossing will dislodge a filling as will biting down on something hard. Plaque can also be a contributing factor. When plaque builds up around the margins of the filling it can force or push out the filling. Other times a second cavity or decay under the filling can be the culprit.

Next step, contact your dentist. A broken or missing filling should be replaced as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the greater the chance for the cavity to enlarge or for an infection to begin.

Third step:

  • Keep the area clean and avoid chewing hard or sticky foods on the affected side of your mouth. You don’t want to further damage the tooth.

  • If the tooth is sensitive, a little clove oil applied with a cotton swab will dull the pain. It can be found at pharmacies or in the spice section of many grocery stores.

  • Watch for fluids leaking out of the tooth or bad odors. This could be a sign of infection. If you do notice any of these symptoms contact your dentist immediately.

  • Brush your teeth after every meal to keep the area free of food particles.

  • Swish with salt water a few times a day. This will also help keep the tooth clean.

In many cases, the process of fixing the tooth is simple – the tooth is cleaned out and the filling replaced. In other instances, a dental procedure may be needed. If the filling was metal it is recommended to replace it with composite. In any case, the tooth will be restored and healthy when your visit is complete.


To find out more about the dental services offered by our dentist in Albuquerque NM, Dr. Snyder, call (505)-293-7611, schedule an online consultation or visit us at 4830 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE, Ste. K, Albuquerque, NM, 87111.

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