A dental filling also known as dental restoration is a procedure to treat and restore the structure, function and integrity of a missing tooth structure which is often caused by cavities and external traumas. It helps repair the gap by filling it with a dental amalgam therefore restoring it to its natural form.
Knowing the Signs
There are many ways to restore your tooth and the most common way is undergoing dental filling. This is why it is best to know the signs to prevent further damage and pain. Below are indications for a dental filling procedure:
- Sensitivity to hot and cold temperature especially when eating or drinking
- Broken or cracked tooth
- Dark spot on the tooth usually indicating a decay
Dental fillings is one of the most common procedures asked by patients on dental clinics. The procedure for this is very simple and only takes about an hour to complete. The steps for this include:
- The dentist will first check the severity of the affected tooth and diagnose on the proper treatment should be done as filling are only suitable for minor problems such as decays and fractures.
- For a more precise examination, a tooth x-ray will sometimes be required.
- The dentist will then first put a topical anesthetic on the area that will be treated to make it numb.
- The tooth that’s affected will be then removed of decay by using a drill or laser.
- After the decay has been removed completely, the dentist will then proceed in tooth restoration by filling it with a composite or amalgam.
- A special light will be then used to harden the layer that was applied.
- After the process is complete, it will be then shaped and trimmed to the desired result.
Types of fillings
There are many types of dental fillings that can be placed inside the affected tooth depending on the severity of the decay or recommendation of the dentist. Here are some below:
- Amalgam: This kind of filling is one of the most commonly used during procedures. It is made of a mixture of minerals such as zinc, silver, tin and 50% mercury. It can last up to 10-15 years.
- Composite Resin: This is made up of a mixture of resin and plastic. It’s color is the same as the teeth which makes it unnoticeable and perfect to use at the front of the teeth. It also isn’t very durable as it can only last for up to 5 years.
- Ceramic: This is one of the most expensive types of fillings. It is stain resistant and tooth-colored but less durable as it brittle and can easily break.
- Glass Ionomer: This type of filling is made up of glass material called fluoroaluminosilicate and acrylic. Though not very durable as it only last up to 5 years, It releases fluoride which protects the tooth from decaying further.
- Gold: The most expensive type of filling due to its material which is very durable and doesn’t corrode. This kind of filling takes more than one visit to the dentist to be able to complete the procedure.
After Care Treatment
It is essential to always follow the advise of your dentist in aftercare treatment of the procedure to keep it intact and be able to maintain it for a long time. Here’s what you need to do:
- Ensure that the effect of the anesthesia has worn off when chewing or drinking hot or cold beverages
- Refrain from eating hard or sticky food at least 3-4 days after the procedure
- If you have grinding habits, place a mouth guard to protect the area
- Brush your teeth regularly and maintain good oral hygiene.
- Consult your dentist if there is still sensitivity on the area or if the filling falls out.
Keep in Mind
- The dental fillings longevity or durability depends on the material that will be used on your teeth. It can also depend on your oral maintenance and habits. It usually last for about 10-20 years.
- Though a rare situation, A dental filling may come off which is why it is best to visit your dentist regulary.
- Sensitivity or pain on the area of your filling indicates that it may have come-off or had been broken. Visit your dentist immediately to repair and treat it.
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