Despite the best dental hygiene and commitment to cleaning your teeth, every now and then a visit to your dentist might reveal the need for a filling.
Although it may not be the news you want to hear, rest assured fillings are one of the most common procedures undertaken by dentists to fix teeth affected by decay. And believe it or not, they’ve been used for centuries.
So, let’s look at the different types of fillings and the procedure involved.
How they work
The process of fitting a filling involves removing the area of tooth affected by decay, cleaning the surrounding region and “filling” the cleaned cavity to restore the tooth to its natural shape and function.
It’s a relatively quick and routine procedure that most dentists perform daily, with a choice of materials available to fill the hole.
Types of fillings
There are a variety of materials used for fillings, ranging from silver-coloured dental amalgam to porcelain, tooth-coloured composite resin and even, in some cases, gold.
The type of material used will depend on the position of the filling and any allergies you may have.
Amalgam – Amalgam is a metal alloy made from a composite of materials including silver, tin, and very small amounts of mercury, copper and zinc.
It’s the most popular type of filling due to its affordability and durability.
Composite resin – Resin fillings are designed to match the natural colour of your teeth, which has traditionally made them a popular alternative for use in front teeth.
Over the years the price of resin fillings has also reduced, meaning they are now widely used in molars for cosmetic reasons.
The downside of resin fillings is they can be more prone to damage like chips or wear. That means resin fillings may not be suitable for filling large cavities. They are also susceptible to staining from tobacco, coffee and wine, and tend to have a lifespan of up to 10 years.
Porcelain – Porcelain fillings are made in a lab and then bonded to the surface of the tooth. They’re designed to match the colour of the natural teeth and are resistant to staining.
Gold – Gold fillings are highly durable and feature a lengthy lifespan, but they are expensive and fitting them requires multiple visits. Gold fillings are made in a lab and then bonded to teeth. Their prohibitive price tag means they are not a frequently employed filling method.
If your dentist believes you need a filling, they will check the area closely with special instruments and may also confirm their diagnosis by taking an x-ray of the mouth.
Once-confirmed, local aneasthetic is used to numb the area around the tooth, and the dentist will then cut through the tooth enamel and remove the decayed area.
They will also shape the space so the filling can be easily applied. Once the tooth has been filled it will be polished.
The best way to avoid fillings is to have regular dental checkups and maintain a vigilant oral hygiene routine that involves cleaning your teeth twice daily and flossing once a day.
You can learn more about oral hygiene here.
About Brite Dental
Brite Dental is a community-focused dental practice, committed to ensuring you and your family receive the highest quality of care in a warm and professional environment.
Offering a full range of dental services, ranging from children’s dentistry through to high-end cosmetic dentistry, we are conveniently located in central Panania.