Frequently Asked Questions


Modern dentistry is wonderful.  If you had been born 100 years ago, your options for treating cavities would be extremely limited.  Often removal was the only option.  Because you do have access to the latest dental technology doesn’t mean you should slack off on good dental hygiene. Even the most sophisticated dental restorations are just that – they are not the teeth you were born with There is no substitute for our natural teeth. This means it’s important not only to brush your teeth, but also to brush them correctly. Your teeth are still susceptible to decay or breakdown.

The easiest way to avoid dental problems is to follow good dental hygiene practices and, most important, have regular dental checkups. Regular dental x-rays will help Dr. Murphy uncover any decay, cracks, or problems with your fillings.

When Dr. Murphy tells you that you have a cavity, your first reaction may be to groan—no one wants to go through the time and expense of having dental work. Instead of dreading the procedure, see this as an opportunity to speak with him about what steps you can take to improve your oral health. Always remember that regular checkups enable Proven Dental to prevent many problems before they can develop. Ask questions and become an active partner in your dental care.


Eventually all fillings need to be replaced because of the extensive wear and tear your teeth undergo everyday.  How long a filling lasts is dependent on your home care, food/snack choices, activities you partake in, and seeing Dr. Murphy at least twice a year for a check-up.


Even microscopic, hairline cracks in your filling can allow bacteria and germs to silently creep in to your tooth. It’s impossible to remove this bacteria by brushing and flossing alone. If you believe you may have a cracked or loose filling it’s important to immediately schedule an appointment with Dr. Murphy. Symptoms of a cracked filling include a sharp pain when biting on hard food or sensitivity to heat or cold. If the filling is not fixed in a timely manner, the bacteria can damage the soft inner part of the tooth called the pulp. If the pulp is infected, a root canal may be needed.


No one type of filling is best for everyone. What's right for you will be determined by the extent of the repair, whether you have allergies to certain materials, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and the cost.

Composite resins are matched to be the same color as your teeth and therefore used where a natural appearance is desired.  These fillings are made of acrylic resin and tiny, finely ground glass-like particles. Composites may stain over time and last three to ten years with proper dental care.

Gold fillings are fabricated in a laboratory and then cemented into place. Gold inlays are well tolerated by gum tissue and may last more than 20 years. 

Amalgam (silver) fillings are resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive.  These are made from a metallic mixture of copper, silver and tin. They tend to be very durable. The downside of a silver filling is Dr. Murphy needs to remove more solid/healthy tooth in order for the amalgam to stay in place. Another reason not to use amalgam is due to their dark color, they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not usually used in very visible areas.  There are also studies linking amalgam to mercury, but as of now the American Dental Society studies indicate they are safe.

Porcelain fillings are called inlays or onlays and are produced to order in a lab and then bonded to the tooth.  They are matched to the color of the tooth and resist staining. A porcelain restoration generally covers most if the tooth.  The cost is similar to gold.  They can last over 20 years.

If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown, or cap, may be recommended.

When you chew, your back molars are exerting a force of roughly 70 pounds a square inch. Now imagine all that force, every day, exerted on your teeth and, in turn, your fillings. It’s no wonder that fillings eventually crack and need to be replaced.


Occasionally damage to the tooth is very severe and a crown is not practical.  Examples of this re decay so advanced that it encompasses the entire tooth above the gumline, or a fracture of the tooth below the gumline in the root.  Then you may have to consider having the tooth extracted and possibly having bridgework or implants done.


1. If you received a local anesthetic, do not attempt to chew or drink anything until the numbness wears off. While numb, it is very easy to bite or burn your tongue, cheek or lip without knowing you are doing it.

2. If you received a local anesthetic, you may have some soreness in the area of the injection. This soreness will subside over a few days. Warm salt water rinses will sooth the area.

4. You may notice the tooth with the new restoration is sensitive to heat and/or cold. This temperature sensitivity should decrease over the next few weeks. Avoid extremely hot or cold foods and liquids during this period.

5. Occasionally, teeth that have new restorations will ache for the first few days. Over the counter pain medications will normally relieve any discomfort you experience while the tooth is returning to normal. Unless you have restrictions on their use, those medications that have anti-inflammatory properties (Advil and aspirin are the most common) usually give the best results.

6. In some cases, if the nerve was unhealthy or significantly damaged prior to this treatment, the ache may not subside and may even get worse as time passes. This means that the nerve is dying and the tooth will require further treatment. You may experience spontaneous aching (aches without chewing or having anything in your mouth), lingering sensitive to cold and/or heat, and sensitivity to pressure when biting on the tooth. Contact Proven Dental if you experience any of these symptoms.

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