Your dentist will “fill” the area on your tooth where the tooth decay was removed in order to treat a cavity. He or she will use dental filling to achieve this feat. Additionally, a dental filling can be used to restore your tooth if it has been broken, cracked, or worn down from repeated inappropriate use for example (such as from nail-biting or tooth grinding).
Your dentist will first numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic before beginning the filling procedure. After that, your dentist will get to work removing the decayed area with a drill, an air abrasion instrument, or a laser. The dentist’s familiarity, expertise, and financial commitment to a given piece of equipment all factor into his or her decision as to which tool to use when treating a given cavity’s specific location and severity.
The next step is a test or probe by your dentist to see if all the decay is gone. After the tooth decay has been taken care of, your dentist will clean the cavity thoroughly in preparation for the filling.
Your dentist may first insert a liner made of glass ionomer, composite resin, or another material to protect the nerve if the decay is close to the root. It is common practice for a dentist to polish a dental filling after it has been placed.
Tooth-colored fillings necessitate the following additional procedures:
- Layer upon layer of the tooth-colored material is applied after the tooth decay is removed and the area is cleaned by your dentist.
- Once each layer is applied, a special light is used to “cure” or harden it.
- After the composite material has been layered several times, the dentist will shape, trim, and polish the restoration to achieve the desired appearance.
What Dental Filling Options Are Available?
Several different types of dental filling materials can be found today including gold, porcelain, silver amalgam (mercury bonded to silver, tin, zinc, and copper), and tooth-colored plastic and materials called composite resin fillings are all viable options for tooth restoration. Glass ionomer is another material that can be found in use today. Like composite resin fillings, this material has a number of potential applications.
The best filling for you depends on factors like the location and severity of the decay, the cost of the filling material, your insurance coverage, and the recommendation of your dentist. Some of the dental filling options available include:
Cast gold fillings have many benefits:
- Longevity (at least 15 years, typically much more)
- Corrosion resistance
- The ability to withstand the stresses of being chewed on
For purely cosmetic reasons, some people prefer gold fillings over silver amalgam ones.
Cast gold fillings have the following drawbacks:
- The cost of gold-cast dental fillings can be up to ten times that of silver amalgam fillings.
- Two or more visits to your dental office are typically needed before a placement can be made.
- A sharp pain (galvanic shock) may occur if a gold filling is placed next to a silver amalgam filling. An electric current is generated when metals and saliva come into contact with one another. However, the chances of galvanic shock occurring is generally a rare.
- When it comes to dental fillings, most people would rather have one that blends in with their natural teeth than one that is “colored.”
Silver Amalgam Fillings
Silver fillings have many benefits:
- Silver fillings are known for their longevity, typically outlasting composite (tooth-colored) fillings by a decade or more.
- The ability to withstand the stresses of being chewed on.
- Amalgams could cost less than composite dental fillings.
Drawbacks from having silver fillings:
- Silver fillings do not look natural because they are too shiny.
- Additional tooth structure is lost because it is not uncommon for dentists to have to drill out a healthy section of tooth before placing an amalgam filling.
- Amalgam fillings can discolor the teeth around them, giving the appearance of a grayish tint.
- Although the expansion and contraction of teeth in response to hot and cold liquids is a common cause of cracks and fractures, the use of amalgam material for fillings may increase the likelihood of these issues because it expands and contracts more than other filling materials.
- It is estimated that about one percent of the U.S population has an allergy to the mercury used in amalgam restorations.
When heated the mercury in Amalgams release a vapor that can be breathed in and absorbed by the lungs. Mercury vapor causes damage to the central nervous system and the kidneys at high concentrations. However, Amalgam fillings have been studied extensively, and the results have shown no correlation to any health issues; therefore, the FDA has deemed them safe for use in children and adults over the age of 6.
Tooth Color-Matching Composite Dental Fillings
benefits OF COMPOSITES:
- Concerning cosmetics, composite fillings can be closely shade-matched to the natural tooth color. Composites excel at replacing missing or damaged front teeth, and can even be used to repair chipped or broken teeth elsewhere.
- Composites are advantageous because they micromechanically bond to the tooth structure.
- Composite fillings can fix chipped, broken, or worn teeth in addition to decay.
- Unlike with amalgam fillings, less of the tooth structure is removed during preparation for the cavity filling, saving more of the natural tooth.
- Composite fillings tend to wear out faster than amalgam ones (at least five years compared to at least 10 to 15 for amalgams), and they may not last as long as amalgam fillings under the pressure of chewing, especially if used for large cavities.
- Composite fillings can take up to 20 minutes longer to place than amalgam ones, due to the application process.
- Composites are often used for inlays and onlays, but they may necessitate more than one visit to the dentist if you want to get them.
- Composite materials are susceptible to chipping, especially in vulnerable areas of the tooth.
- Composite fillings may cost twice as much as amalgam fillings.
Alternative Materials for Filling
- Ceramics: Porcelain, which is used to make these fillings, is more stain-resistant than composite resin, which is also used. Typically, the lifespan of this material is greater than 15 years, and its price can rival that of gold.
- Glass ionomers: Acrylic and a certain kind of glass material are what make up glass ionomers. Glass ionomers release fluoride, which can help protect the tooth from further decay, and are thus a common choice for fillings in young children (however, note that drilling is still required). On the downside, this material is not as durable as composite resin and can easily break under stress or wear. Glass ionomer has a lifespan of five years at most and has a price tag that is on par with composite resin. The most up-to-date ones last even longer and can even replace composites in some situations.
What Exactly Are Indirect Fillings?
Similar to composite or tooth-colored fillings, indirect restorations are placed after two visits to the dentist because they are fabricated in a laboratory. Where there is not enough tooth structure to support a cavity filling, but the damage is not severe enough to warrant a crown, at which point an indirect filling may be considered.
Cavities or old fillings are taken out at the initial appointment. The damaged tooth and the adjacent teeth are molded into a replica using an impression. An indirect filling is created in a dental laboratory after an impression is taken. While the permanent filling is being fabricated, the tooth is protected by a temporary cavity filling. At the next appointment, the dentist will remove the temporary filling and evaluate how well the indirect restoration fits. If the fit is good, it will be cemented in place for good.
Types Of Indirect Fillings
There are two types of Indirect fillings, namely; inlays and onlays. Inlays are similar to fillings, but unlike fillings, the entire restoration is placed within the tooth’s natural cusps.
A dental onlay is a more extensive restoration than an inlay, typically spanning two or more cusps. Onlays are often referred to as partial crowns.
When compared to amalgam fillings, inlays and onlays can last up to 30 years longer. Composite resin, porcelain, or gold are all viable materials used in making onlays. Protecting a weak tooth with an onlay is possible because it fits over the biting surface and, like a crown, it can help to redistribute the biting pressure across the tooth.
Direct inlays and onlays, a variant on indirect restorations, are fabricated and placed entirely within the mouth in a single appointment, though they still adhere to the same principles and practices.
The volume of healthy tooth structure that is still present, as well as any aesthetic considerations, will determine whether your dentist will use an inlay or onlay to restore your tooth.
When Would I Need a Temporary Filling, and What Is It?
A temporary filling may be used as follows;
- For indirect fillings, which are composite materials and require multiple appointments to complete, as well as for the placement of gold fillings.
- After having a root canal procedure done.
- In cases where the pulp has become irritated, then waiting with a temporary cavity filling while allowing the nerve to “calm down” before a permanent filling is done is often recommended.
Temporary fillings, while useful in an emergency (for example, to relieve a toothache), are not permanent solutions. Within a month, they typically break, wear out, or fall out. Remember to schedule an appointment with your dentist to have any temporary fillings replaced with permanent ones. If you do not, you risk an infection in the tooth or other problems.
How Do I Best Maintain My Teeth After Getting Fillings?
To keep fillings in good condition, patients should practice good oral hygiene habits such as twice-daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste, daily flossing, and the use of an antibacterial mouthwash. Your dentist may take X-rays if they suspect a filling is broken or “leaking” (when the filling’s sides do not fit tightly against the tooth, debris and saliva can seep down between the filling and the tooth, leading to tooth decay). You should make an appointment with your dentist if you experience sensitivity, feel a sharp edge, see a crack, or lose a portion of your cavity filling.
FAQs About Dental Fillings
When Should I Get A Filling, And What Do I Need To Know?
To get ready for your appointment, you would not have to do much. You do not have to skip meals before the test because it is a non-invasive procedure. Feel free to brush your teeth as you normally would, too. Try to schedule your filling appointment first thing in the morning if you know you will be anxious.
What Can I Do Or Not Do After Getting A Filling?
You should wait at least two to three weeks before eating anything crunchy, chewy, or sticky. If you are feeling sensitive, you should also avoid eating or drinking anything that is extremely hot or cold. Maintain your regular dental hygiene routine of brushing and flossing, and try switching to softer foods like oatmeal, soup, boiled potatoes, eggs, and vegetables.
For What Time Frame Can One Expect A Filling To Remain Effective?
It all depends on the size of the tooth decay and where the filling is located, as well as how well you care for your filling and teeth after the procedure. However, the average lifespan of a filling ranges from seven to twenty years.
Get Dental Fillings Today At Epic Dental Center
You can get different types of dental fillings including traditional fillings, metal fillings like a silver filling or amalgam restoration, porcelain fillings, and so on with us today. Our dentist will ensure that there is no issue with improper cavity preparation which is one of the major issues leading to a poor filling procedure. We have state-of-the-art dental equipment to offer emergency dental treatment if needed. We will endeavor to ensure that the integrity of your tooth structure remains while offering you useful advice on how to protect and maintain your filled tooth after the procedure. You can call us now at 7133659904 or click the “book online” link on our website to set up an appointment right away.