When you need Fillings and/or Restoration


Tooth decay can cause a tooth to be infected and weakened. A filling is then used to restore the damaged tooth to its normal shape and function and to strengthen the tooth again.

A weakened, infected tooth left untreated, will result in enormous pain as the infection starts affecting the nerves. The tooth could also eventually break. A filling will strengthen the tooth and prevent further decay. Fillings may also be used for broken or cracked teeth and teeth that have been damaged or worn down due to unusual activities such as opening bottles with teeth, nail biting or grinding of the teeth (called bruxism).

Your dentist will first check if you have cavities, and where they are located, by using one or more of the following assessment methods: Discolored spots might indicate tooth decay, but an ‘explorer’, used as a probe by your dentist, will find definite tooth decay when it finds places where the enamel of the tooth is softer than healthy enamel. (A probe is a metal instrument with a sharp tip.) Your dentist could also have you rinse your mouth with cavity-detecting dye, which will stick to decayed teeth and expose them. An x-ray will present a more comprehensive picture, as it will reveal decay that is still developing as well – for instance in the enamel in areas where the teeth meet, as well as in the areas just under the enamel (the dentin). Your dentist could also use laser fluorescence cavity detection aids, which are small wands that measure changes in teeth caused by decay.
Once you and your doctor have agreed on a filling, decay in the tooth will first be removed either by drilling or using laser therapy. If drilling is going to be done, you will be given a local anesthesia to numb the area first. With laser therapy anesthesia will generally not be necessary, but some dentists might give topical anesthesia before starting work on the decayed tooth. When the decay has been removed, the affected area will be cleaned and then filled and restored with materials such as tooth-colored fillings (called composite resin), porcelain, amalgam (an alloy of silver, copper, mercury and tin) or gold. Spaces where bacteria can enter, will also be closed off to prevent further decay.

In the best interest of our patients, Enhance Dental is a mercury-free practice. Silver/mercury fillings do not strengthen tooth structure and also do not look natural. Apart from this, silver fillings tend to wear down at the edges, become weak over time and can split or even break through expansion and detraction with hot or cold foods and drinks. This leads to openings where bacteria will be able to enter again. Silver fillings also contain mercury which can erode, leak and cause stains on your teeth and gums. If you want your silver fillings replaced, we will do it for you at our practice; generally stretching over 2 appointments due to the necessary process involved.
Instead of silver fillings, we create safe and durable porcelain inlays and tooth-colored onlays for our patients. These fillings are unnoticeable and also strengthen teeth because of good bonding technologies used by our practice.

Resin onlays create better, tight fits to the natural teeth, keeping them intact and also strengthening them. They can even be used in instances where a lot of the original tooth’s structure has been lost. Resin and tooth-colored restorations also contain fluoride which assists in preventing decay. Resin feels natural and does not need to be placed at the gum line, which is healthier for your teeth. Natural-looking teeth result in a beautiful smile for you!

Replacing silver fillings
Replacing your unhealthy silver fillings with resin fillings, will require 2 appointments with us. During the first appointment, we will remove the old filling and decay, if present. We will also make an impression and model of your teeth, and send the model to the lab. Then we will put a temporary onlay on the affected teeth to keep it healthy and safe. At the lab, a qualified technician will carefully place the resin on the model of your teeth to design it to look natural. The 2nd appointment will be the exciting one where we will remove the temporary onlay, put a conditioning gel onto your teeth to prepare it for the new onlay, put bonding cement on the teeth, use a high intensity light to bond the resin to the teeth – and then polish them. And then… you will have restored, strong, natural-looking, beautiful teeth that are strong and protected – and a beautiful smile!