When people need to get their cavities treated, they visit a dentist for dental fillings. The dentist treats the cavities by removing the decayed part of the tooth and then filling that area with a dental compound. Dental fillings are also used to repair broken or cracked teeth, as well as teeth that have been misused to the extent that they become worn out by tooth-grinding or nail-biting.
Steps Taken for Dental Fillings
First, the dentist uses a local anesthetic to numb the site around the tooth that needs filling. Next, he uses a drill, laser, or air abrasion instrument to extract the decayed part. The dentist selects the tool based on his comfort level, investment in that specific equipment, and skill and the extent and location of the decay.
Next, the dentist tests or probes the site to define whether the decay has been entirely cleared out. The dentist then prepares the space for the dental filling by ensuring the tooth cavity is free from debris and bacteria. If your tooth decay is close to the root, he might first install a liner made out of composite resin, glass ionomer, or some other kind of material to secure your nerve.
Once everything is done, the dentist usually finishes and polishes the tooth.
Some extra steps are also needed for tooth-colored dental fillings. Once the decay has been removed and the site cleaned out, the dentist layers in the tooth-colored filling material. In between each layer, the dentist uses a special light to harden or cure the compound. Once this process of multilayering is done, the dentist shapes the material to create the wanted result, trims off extra material, and then polish the restoration.
The Different Types of Materials Available for Dental Fillings:
Teeth can easily be filled in with porcelain, gold, silver amalgam (which is made of mercury, zinc, silver, copper, and tin) or even other plastic, tooth-colored materials known as composite resin. They can also be filled in with a material called glass ionomer, is made of glass particles and is used in the same way as composite resin fillings.
The type of dental filling required for a cavity is determined by the cost of materials, the extent and site of decay, your insurance coverage, and the dentist’s suggestions.
- Cast Gold Fillings:
- Cast gold fillings are very durable, can last for up to 15 years, and don’t corrode.
- They are very strong and can bear chewing forces.
- Patients often prefer these for aesthetic reasons because they find gold fillings more appealing than silver amalgam ones.
- Gold cast fillings are more expensive than the other types.
- They require extra office visits.
- They may cause a sharp pain called the galvanic shock if placed right next to a silver amalgam one.
- Silver Amalgam Fillings
- Silver fillings are very durable, can last up to 15 years, and usually outlast composite ones.
- They are strong and can bear chewing forces.
- They are cheaper than composite fillings.
- They offer poor aesthetics because they don’t match your natural teeth.
- Other healthier parts of your tooth might need to be removed to make a bigger space for an amalgam filling.
- They can cause a grayish tone to the area surrounding the tooth structure.
- They may fracture or crack.
- Some people might be allergic to them.
- Tooth-Colored Composites
- Tooth-colored composites offer great aesthetics because the shade can be matched perfectly to that of your natural teeth.
- Composite fillings bond chemically to the tooth structure and provide support.
- They are versatile and can be used for the repair of broken, chipped, or worn out teeth, in addition to fixing decay.
- They lack durability and strength.
- They are expensive
- They require an increased number of visits and greater chair time.
How to Take Care of your Teeth with Dental Fillings?
In order to preserve your dental fillings, you must follow a good oral hygiene. It is important to floss and brush your teeth using fluoride toothpaste, visit the dentist regularly for the cleaning, and rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash once every day. Your dentist might take X-rays if he suspects a filling to be leaking or cracked. If you feel extreme sensitivity on your teeth, notice a crack, feel a sharp edge or a piece of your dental filling goes missing, you will need to contact your dentist to have an appointment arranged for you.