Dental fillings are single or mixed forms of metal, plastic, glass, or other materials used to restore or fix teeth. Fillings frequently “fill” cavities or areas of teeth that your dentist has removed due to decay. Your dentist will remove the decaying part of the tooth to repair a cavity, and the space left by the decayed material will be “filled” with dental material. Moreover, a dental filling restores teeth damaged by misuse, such as fractured or cracked teeth (such as from nail-biting or tooth-grinding).
Different Types of Dental Filling
Porcelain inlay/onlay fillings are tooth-colored and designed fit the present appearance of teeth. A porcelain filling can last up to 20 years and blends in almost perfectly with other healthy teeth. Comparable to porcelain fillings, composite fillings can protect teeth for 5–10 years. Gold fillings must be custom-made in a lab to fit the tooth cavity before the dentist affixes it with cement. Therefore, they require numerous visits and are the costliest filling form. However, gold fillings may last over 20 years and the gum tissue around them accept them well.
Amalgam fillings are the most prevalent and least expensive fillings available. Unfortunately, amalgam fillings contain mercury and, in some countries, dentists do not widely use them. Moreover, this filling can expand and contract with heat, leading to cracked teeth. Therefore, we don’t recommend this type of filling; Instead, we provide the option to swap out outdated amalgam fillings for more hygienic tooth-colored ones.
How Can I Tell if I Need a Dental Filling?
Your dentist will thoroughly inspect each tooth’s surface using a tiny mirror and will also take X-rays if anything seems out of the ordinary, such as discoloration, sensitivity to temperature changes, or defects. Then, the treatment process will be determined depending on the degree of damage and the filling type you choose.
For the first few days following a filling, the affected tooth may tingle or feel discomfort while chewing, particularly with hot or cold foods. In addition, some patients may be allergic to the filling material and develop itching and rashes.
Occasionally, filling insertion might damage the nerves within the tooth. In addition, there is a small risk of infection at the injection or filling site.
Dental Fillings Risks and Problems
To prepare the tooth or teeth for restoration, the dentist will first numb them using an anesthetic. Then the dentist removes the decaying part of the tooth or teeth, leaving just the healthy tooth structure. This will prevent decay from reoccurring beneath the filling. Next, they will fill the removed gap with filling material once they have examined the tooth to ensure that they have removed all of the decay.
Several types of filling materials can be utilized based on the dentist’s preference, location, and cavity size. The dentist could also use a liner to shield the tooth’s root before filling a cavity if it is deep inside the tooth and close to the nerve. After placement, the filling material is molded and shaped to match the bite of the neighboring teeth. The dentist then hardens the filling with a UV laser, and examines the bite with articulating paper to ensure it fits the occlusion. The numbness will go away within a few hours.
What Causes a New Filling to Fall Out?
New fillings that come out are likely the consequence of poor cavity preparation, contamination of the preparation before implantation of the restoration, or a fracture of the repair from biting or chewing damage. In most cases, decay or fracture of the remaining tooth will cause losing older restorations.
How Should I Take Care of My Teeth After Dental Filling?
You should maintain proper oral hygiene habits to keep your fillings in good condition:
- Schedule cleaning appointments with your dentist twice a year.
- Use fluoride-containing toothpaste to brush your teeth.
- Floss at least once a day.
- Your tooth is extremely sensitive.
- You detect a sharp edge.
- You spot a crack in a filling or a missing piece of the filling.
If your dentist thinks one of your fillings may be “leaking” (when the edges of the filling don’t fit securely against the tooth, debris and saliva can seep down between the filling and the tooth, which causes decay) or cracked, they will take X-rays.
What Are the Alternatives to a Dental Filling?
Remember that maintaining a healthy diet, brushing and flossing regularly, and scheduling cleanings and checkups every six months can help lower your chance of developing tooth decay. The best person to provide you with advice on this is your dentist. Contact us at Smile Dental in St. Clair, Toronto if you are suffering from cavities or want to know more about your options in choosing which type of dental fillings to get!