What Is a Dental Filling?
With the help of a filler, a dentist restores the tooth’s function and normal shape affected by dental caries. First, the dentist removes the affected material. Then the area is thoroughly cleaned, and finally, the cavity is filled with filling material.
This filler helps seals the cavities where bacteria can enter and also contributes to the prevention of dental caries. The fillings can be made of gold, porcelain, composite resin (white fillings), and amalgam (an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin, and sometimes zinc).
When Is It Necessary to Fill a Tooth?
Although many people think that fillings are a solution to almost all of their dental problems, it can also not be necessary in many cases. A filling is needed when a tooth or molar is affected by caries (the so-called ‘hole’) or when you have a broken tooth.
How Is a Tooth Filling Done?
The dental techniques available today have developed to such an extent that fillings can be applied entirely painlessly. Even if you suffer from sensitive teeth, the treatment can be performed quickly and painlessly. Most dentists proceed as follows:
- During the appointment, the color of your tooth and the color of the filling is discussed
- If you wish, you can receive a local anesthetic during the treatment
- The tooth is cleaned
- Several layers of the composite are applied to the tooth
- The composite is cured with a lamp
- The filling is finished, ground, and polished
What Type of Filling Is Best?
There is no one type of filler that is better for everyone. The best filling depends on the extent of the repair, possible allergies to specific materials; the filler should be placed in the mouth and the cost. Below are some considerations on available materials:
Gold fillings (inlays) are custom made in the dental lab and fixed with a type of cement. Gold inlays are well tolerated by the gums and often last more than 20 years. For these reasons, gold is considered the most suitable material for fillings. However, it is also the most expensive option and requires multiple visits to the dentist.
Amalgam fillings have good wear resistance and are relatively inexpensive. However, due to the dark color, amalgam fillings are more noticeable than porcelain or composite fillings, so they are not usually used on front teeth or other visible places.
Composite fillings (white fillings) look more natural because the color can match the surrounding teeth’ color. The ingredients are mixed, and then the composite mixture is applied to the cavity. Composite is not always suitable for large fillings since they are less resistant to wear or long-term cracking. Besides, composite fillings can become discolored with the consumption of coffee, tea, or tobacco, and they do not last as long as other types of fillings (usually three to ten years).
Porcelain fillings (inlays) are custom made in a dental laboratory and then placed into the tooth. The color can be adjusted to the color of the tooth. Porcelain inlays are resistant to discoloration. The porcelain restoration usually covers a large portion of the tooth. The costs are similar to those of gold fillings.
How Do I Know if I Need a Tooth Filling?
Only the dentist can determine if you have any holes that need filling. During the checkup, the dentist uses a mirror to look at the surface of your teeth.
Any abnormalities are carefully examined with special instruments. An x-ray might also be necessary. The treatment followed depends on the extent of the damage caused by the cavity.
What Can I Do to Prevent Tooth Decay?
Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and use a sonic (electric) toothbrush. Use brushes, toothpicks, or dental floss for good oral hygiene. Limit the number of sweets you consume. In addition, regular checkups by the dentist are, of course, essential.
If you need tooth restorations or fillings, Prosthodontics Specialist Dental Centre offers reliable treatments designed to restore the function, integration, and morphology of teeth that have been damaged. Contact them for more information!