Have you ever wondered what’s in your fillings? We get asked this question every day from patients. Here’s a very introductory-level, brief explanation about our most common dental materials.

The tooth-colored fillings that we use most often to fill teeth at North Creek Family Dentistry are a material called resin composite, which is a type of plastic material. Crowns, or caps, are made out of porcelain, which is a type of glass material that is stronger than fillings. Fillings are used to restore small defective areas inside a tooth, usually due to cavities, whereas crowns are used to cover the entire area of the tooth exposed to the mouth with the intention of preventing the tooth from breaking.

After decay is removed from a cavity and we add some items to help shape the new filling and keep it from sticking to adjacent teeth, we have a couple of steps before the filling is finished. First we etch the tooth to clean it. This is the blue gel. Next, we add a glue to the tooth to make the filling stick. This is the step that smells like a nail salon. These two steps create micromechanical retention, meaning every little microscopic nook and cranny in the tooth and the filling are glued together. This is different than silver fillings, which are held in by the shape of the cavity. Once the tooth is prepared, the filling is squirted into the tooth, adapted to shape the cavity, and then we use a blue light to harden the filling. Our porcelain crowns go through a similar bonding process before cementing them to the tooth, making the tooth and crown stronger in the process.

Educating patients is one of our favorite things to do at North Creek Family Dentistry, and that includes walking patients through procedures before and during the appointment and giving plenty of time for patients to ask questions. If you’re not sure what’s in your mouth or why it’s there, we’d love to help! Give us a call at 402-413-0505 when you’re ready to schedule your appointment.