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What is Teeth Filling?
Teeth decay results in cavities and these are a very common condition found in people. In the ideal scenario, teeth decay must be treated as early as possible to prevent it from spreading deeper into a tooth or to other teeth in the mouth. Teeth filling is a procedure by which early-stage tooth decay is treated and the tooth’s function and aesthetics restored.
One of the many causes of sensitive teeth is tooth decay. When the decay causes cavitation into the dentine layer, it elicits a sensitivity response to cold food or air and this is one of the first symptoms that your tooth needs a filling.
Teeth filling is a procedure wherein the dentist removes the decayed portion of a tooth and fills the cavity formed with an appropriate filling material. Promptly filling a tooth helps in fighting tooth decay and prevents its further spread into the tooth.
Why is Cavity Filling Required?
Dental decay is brought about by bacteria that use food debris around a tooth as substrate and produce acids that dissolve the tooth structure, in a way eating into the tooth. As a result, a cavity is formed.
Many of you wonder – “What if a cavity is not filled?” Well, when a cavity is formed in the tooth, it weakens the structure of the tooth. A cavity is filled with a strong material that replaces the lost structure of the tooth, to restore its form and function, and in many cases, even its aesthetics.
Types of Teeth Filling
There are different types of teeth filling material and most people wonder which is the best teeth filling material? You can discuss with your dentist about the best teeth filling material option for you as the decision is based on many factors such as – extent of decay, cost of the filling, and convenience. Some commonly used teeth filling materials are:-
- Silver Amalgam: This is probably one of the oldest and long standing teeth filling materials that has been used for over a 100 years and still continues to be used. These filling materials are made from silver and mercury, are cheap, and have high wear resistance. They can withstand high compressive forces but fracture under high tension .
Though extremely popular and widely used, they are not aesthetic and have a metallic appearance. For this reason, they aren’t the choice of filling in front teeth.
- Glass Ionomer Filling: Glass ionomer filling is actually a luting cement that is used to fix dental crowns and bridges or line cavities. They are used in some conditions even today due to their fluoride-releasing abilities.
However, compared to silver amalgam and composites, they have very poor compressive strength and are also less retentive to the tooth structure.
- Composites: These are resin-based teeth filling materials and are the most widely used materials today. They have superior aesthetics as well as strong compressive and tensile strengths.
This makes them ideal for cavities in front and back teeth. They bond chemically with the tooth structure and therefore, also have good retention.
Composites are available in different shades and the right shade is chosen by your dentist on basis of the shade and colour of your tooth.
- Porcelain Inlays and Onlays- Inlays and onlays, unlike the above mentioned filling materials, are indirect restorations. This means that they are not directly placed on the tooth structure but are pre-fabricated in a dental lab and luted on to the tooth to restore the cavity.
They show superior aesthetics and closely resemble the colour and shade of the tooth to be restored.
The right tooth filling material for your tooth is therefore, decided based on multiple factors. At Sabka Dentist clinics, we provide teeth filling materials of superior grade and our dentists are well-trained to make the right choice of tooth filling material based on each individual case.
How is a Teeth Filling Done?
So, what does teeth filling involve? Teeth filling is usually done in one sitting when you visit your dentist.
However, some deeper fillings may require additional sittings. The three steps involved in teeth filling are:
- Evaluation- When you visit our Sabka Dentist clinic, the dentist will first evaluate your tooth for the extent of the decay, its spread and any symptoms that you may have.An x-ray might be taken to study the extent of the decay inside the tooth. Once the dentist is sure that the decay has not reached the pulp and can be treated with a filling, he/she proceeds further.
- Removing the decay and cleaning your tooth – The next step is removal of the decay. The dentist will remove all of the decayed portion of the tooth and clean the cavity of any debris that may be present. The tooth is now ready to be filled.
- Filling – The final step in teeth filling procedure is the placement of the appropriate filling material in the prepared cavity and finishing it off with specialised hand tools. Your tooth is good as new!Post your filling, your dentist may give you a few instructions that you must follow.
What if the Cavity is Deep?
Many of you must be wondering “what if the cavity is deep?” Well, if on the x-ray and by clinical evaluation your dentist feels that the cavity is too deep for a filling or removal of the decay will result in exposure of the pulp tissue, he/she will recommend a root canal treatment.
Many people panic and have questions like “Is root canal safe?” or “How many visits does a root canal take?” etc. Well, root canal treatment is safe and is routinely performed at our Sabka Dentist clinics.
Depending upon the nature of infection and the condition of the tooth, root canal treatment can take 1 to 4 sittings.
The key to preventing a root canal treatment is maintaining good oral hygiene and getting even the smallest of cavities filled at the earliest.
If you have more queries about teeth filling, visit your nearest Sabka Dentist clinic today!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the best material for dental fillings?
Dental cement filling for you will be determined by the extent of the repair, allergies to certain materials, location of filling , and the cost. Considerations for different materials include:
- Amalgam (silver) fillings are wear resistant and comparatively inexpensive. However, due to their metallic color, they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not used for visible areas, such as front teeth.
- Composite (plastic) resins match the teeth shade and therefore are used where a natural appearance is desired. Composites may not be the ideal material for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time. However, they chemically bond to the tooth and are highly aesthetic.
- Porcelain inlays or onlays are indirect restorations that are prepared in the dental laboratory and then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the color of the tooth and resist staining. A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth structure. If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth structure, a crown/ cap may be recommended. Decay that has reached the nerve may be treated through root canal therapy (in which the damaged pulp is removed).
How do dentists perform cavity filling?
The filling procedure involves the dentist removing the the decayed tooth material, cleaning the affected area, and then filling the cleaned out cavity with dental cement.
A filling also helps prevent further decay and forms a seal between the filling and tooth interface. Materials used for cavity fillings include glass ionomer, porcelain, composite resin (tooth-colored fillings), and amalgam (an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin and sometimes zinc).
Why is my tooth still hurting after a filling?
Do dental fillings need to be replaced?
Can I eat after a filling?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Amalgam fillings?
- Not overtly technique sensitive.
- After a period of time, it forms a seal of corrosion products at tooth amalgam interface and prevents marginal leakage.
- Excellent wear resistance.
- Relatively inexpensive.
- Long lasting.
- Non aesthetic
- Brittle and can fracture if incorrectly positioned (low tensile strength)
- Do not bond to the tooth structure
- Tarnish and Corrosion
- Delayed expansion
- Risk of Mercury toxicity
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Composite fillings?