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Cavities cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. You may think that your only option is to have the tooth pulled. Fillings are an excellent alternative.

What are fillings?

A “filling” is the common name given to a dental procedure that removes decay—a cavity—in a tooth and fills the space left behind with a synthetic material. Fillings can be made from many different materials, such as gold, amalgam, or composite tooth colored material. Your dentist will choose the material that’s right for you.

Why would I need a filling?

Leaving cavities in place is very dangerous to your oral health. Cavities will continue to get worse as time passes, and can lead to more serious dental problems, like abscesses, gum disease, and permanent tooth loss. Fillings allow you to remove the decay from your natural tooth, while still maintaining its strength and integrity. Fillings are also used in cases where the teeth have been worn down prematurely due to bad habits like nail chewing, and sometimes can be used to repair cracked or broken teeth.

Are fillings permanent?

No. When you get a filling, you will have to return to have the space refilled as time passes, due to discoloration or looseness from natural wear and tear. It’s very important that you schedule regular appointments with your dentist to have the filling checked, as fillings are susceptible to leaks or cracks. When this happens, bacteria gets beneath the filling and, since that area cannot be cleaned, severely decays the tooth. Often, by the time you notice a problem with your filling, it is already too late to save the tooth. Regular check-ups prevent this issue. Your fillings will last longer if you practice good oral hygiene and avoid nail biting, crunching ice, and opening packages with your teeth.

What happens during the procedure?

After you and Dr. Ballard determine that a filling is the best option, and choose the most appropriate filling material to use, the next step is to numb the area. The decay will be removed using a dental drill. There are a variety of bits for dental drills. Dr. Ballard will likely use two: one to drill the enamel and a second for the dentin—the softer material that lies beneath the enamel. After all of the decay has been removed, the filling material will be placed into the vacated space. Some filling materials require that the surface of the tooth is etched, so that the filling bonds more strongly to the tooth.

Is it painful?

Local anesthesia is used to numb the mouth before the procedure begins. There is no pain while the tooth is being drilled or filled. There will be some discomfort as the anesthesia wears off that can be easily controlled with medication. Most people actually report a lessening in pain after the procedure, as the fillings “insulate” the nerves in the teeth. Call (404) 261-0610 to schedule an appointment.

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Dr. Ballard,
I want to thank you so much for your generous gift to me of time, service and care. Your willingness to help me was such a mighty example of the Lord’s provision. May He richly bless you and your family!! And… I wanted to thank you and your entire staff for the best experience I’ve ever had at a Dr. visit of any kind. You all manage to be highly professional and highly personable. Throughout my entire time in the office, I always felt valued and cared for as an individual. Keep up the awesome work!! Thank you so much!

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I know your office must get emails all the time, telling you how wonderful you are. However, thinking it’s always nice to hear. I really wanted to take a minute to thank you. I came to you, with teeth that I was ashamed of. There was never a moment when anyone made me feel less than the most important patient. Your staff is beyond amazing, so caring, so welcoming. We fixed years of deterioration. Dr. Ballard is the most caring dentist I’ve met… and I’ve had many. He explained the procedure, made sure I was fully informed of what needed to be done. Everyone ensured that my experience was the least painful it could be. I expressed my joy at my new smile in person… however, I cannot express enough, how this smile had changed me. So many friends have commented on how much I smile now. I feel confident and pretty. You have my deepest appreciation, not only for the skill all of you have, but also for the care you give to your patients.
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This is a great practice! My husband and I have been going to Dr Ballard for more than 12 years. His work is fairly priced and they always seem to be using the latest technology. He does a good job of extending the life of your current dental work as far as possible and only recommends new work when it's absolutely necessary. This latest visit was an emergency - one of my crowns fell off - and he got me in at 7am to fix me up and get me smiling again. I was so appreciative they were able to see me so quickly. All the staff are friendly and very capable. I recommend this practice unreservedly!


I think Dr. Ballard is one of the best dentist in the Buckhead area. He has an amazing Chair side manner and he’s caring and compassionate about you in your life. He has been my dentist for the past five years and I would not switch to anyone else. His staff is wonderful always ready to answer any question that you have. My dental hygienist, Dawn, is amazing.


Dr Ballard is amazing. I had a problem with a crown that he took care of immediately. I showed up. Spent 30 seconds in the waiting room. Was sitting in the chair for about 30 seconds and boom! Dr Ballard was there working on my tooth. 30 minutes later I was out the door all fixed up. Very professional and a great experience.


Excellent dental office for all oral work from regular cleaning to crowns made in the office in one visit. They are professional, friendly, and knowledgeable using all of the latest technologies!


I have been a patient of Dr Ballard’s for several years. He is a phenomenal dentist, and I highly recommend him. He always takes his time to see me and examine whatever they are watching carefully. He is always professional, thorough and makes sure to answer any questions I have. On the few occasions I have had to have a procedure (one crown and a filling)- Dr. Ballard is excellent and makes the event as easy and pain free as possible. Monica is my hygienist and has been cleaning my teeth for many years. She’s wonderful!! My teeth always look and feel great when she is done doing her thing. I now live in the ‘burbs but drive into Atlanta for my dentist. They are that good! I highly recommend this practice- they are the best in town!!


The first word that immediately comes to mind concerning my experience with Dr. Ballard is simply “incredible”! My initial call to make an appointment was met with sincere concern for my plight. I had broken portions of my two front teeth, and I was new in Atlanta. I was told that they would try to work me in for consultation that very day. They did! Despite his full schedule, Dr. Ballard was able to repair my teeth within the hour! They now look better than they ever did!!! Impressive!


Dr. Ballard is the only dentist I trust for my complicated dental problems. He is amazing! He & his entire staff are friendly, kind, & professional.


No one likes to go to the dentist but coming here makes it totally bearable. I trust them totally and there is no wait time. The staff and Dr Ballard are super nice and you really feel like you are in the best hands. I love the fact that they can do a crown right on the spot. No second appointment needed. Dr Ballard is an amazing dentist and everyone in the office is skilled and knowledgeable.


Dr. Ballard is professional yet personable. His work is impeccable. Whether it’s filling a cavity, repairing another dentist’s work, or performing a root canal, you can rest assured it will be done with care & excellence. His staff is fantastic. I’m always treated like a person, not just a source of income. It’s a wonderful place to be.


The finest people, who really care about you and the quality of care. Dr. Ballard is someone I absolutely trust, his team stays for decades to work with him, and I take my children here too. You can’t find a better quality and service in dentistry in Atlanta, or anywhere.


I’m very pleased to recommend Dr Ballard and the fantastic staff of Buckhead Dental Partners. They always take extra steps to make sure I’m well cared for and well accommodated. I look forward to any visit whether it’s for routine cleanings and exams to crowns or fillings- everything is painless. Professional in every way with the latest advances in dental technology and yet they’re just like old friends. I have been a patient there since 1995 with absolutely no complaints. They will truly cure the stigma of fearing a dental visit and I trust the staff and Dr Ballard can do the same for anyone. They get five stars indeed!