Teeth Fillings

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What Is a Filling?

A filling is a method to bring your decayed or damaged tooth to its normal shape and function. Before filling your dentist cleans the affected area by removing decayed tooth material. After that, your dentist performs a procedure of filling a cavity.

The filling is a useful way to prevent further decay and it also limits the entrance of bacteria. The common materials used for filling are composite resin, gold, amalgam (an alloy of copper, mercury, and silver) and porcelain.

What They Do

When bacteria attract teeth and create a hole that hole is called a cavity. The purpose of a filling is to prevent further damage to the tooth. Bacteria that create a cavity may reside inside it and may cause further damage. With the help of a drill, the dentist cleans the cavity and removes the decayed material to prepare it for filling. Filling a cavity does not fix the damage already done due to bacteria or decay, it only prevents further damage.

Today, most dentists use composite resins for filling. However, many dentists still believe in using glass ionomer fillings and silver amalgam. The fillings operate by removing the portion of the tooth damaged by the deterioration of the tooth. The dentist adjusts them in such a way that they match the surrounding teeth shape. A filling helps to restore the integrity and strength of the tooth. It also makes them resistant to further attacks. The filling makes your teeth strong and healthy to perform their functions effectively.

Why Fill Up the Cavities?

Enamel is the hard tissue that covers the outside of your teeth. Erosion of the enamel is what leads to the formation of a cavity. Whatever reason leads to this cavity can cut even deeper into your tooth, resulting in the nerves and pulp getting exposed. This causes your tooth to become very sensitive and tender. If you don’t take care of it even then, it will become even more painful, resulting in the formation of a pus-filled abscess, and can even cause the permanent loss of a tooth. Getting a filling on time will help prevent these problems.

Dental fillings consist of a variety of materials using procedures that vary slightly. The material that either the patient or dentist chooses depends upon a variety of factors. These include strength, aesthetics, durability, and most importantly, their cost.

How It Works

A visual examination along with an x-ray is performed in order to determine the extent to which the tooth has decayed. The cavity is firstly drilled clean by giving local anesthesia so that the patient doesn’t feel any sort of pain. The dentist thoroughly cleans the cavity, after which he roughens the surface by applying a mildly acidic solution in some cases. The purpose is that the rough surface holds the filling in a better way. The material of the filling is then applied inside the cavity which has been prepared.

What to Expect

The local anesthesia induced numbness typically wears off within a couple of hours. You should try not to consume extremely hot or cold beverages until then. Avoid eating anything on that side of the mouth which contains the filling. Sensitivity to hot and cold may remain for the first couple of weeks following the filling. If it persists any longer or you feel pain while eating, then you better visit your dentist because your filling might need a readjustment.

After Care

Brushing and flossing twice a day, along with regular dental checkups and cleanings twice each year will help prevent further dental problems in the future.

Fillings to Choose From

Generally speaking, there are two types of dental fillings; one being the metal fillings and the second being the tooth-colored fillings, both having their own pros and cons. The type you choose for yourself would depend upon a number of factors.

Silver Amalgam

This traditional “silver” filling has been used very reliably for over a hundred years. The amalgam is basically an alloy consisting of mercury, mixed with powdered silver, tin, as well as trace amounts of copper. Mercury then forms a substance typically known as an amalgam. Mercury is otherwise extremely toxic for humans even in small doses; amalgamation is what makes it stable and safe. These filings are durable as well as cheap. The amalgam can be easily prepared by the dentist in his office, making it possible for the filling to be quickly finished in a single sitting. A drawback, however, is that mercury filling is quite noticeable. They also need a greater amount of drilling as compared to other types of fillings.

Tooth-Colored Fillings

This traditional “silver” filling has been used very reliably for over a hundred years. The amalgam is basically an alloy consisting of mercury, mixed with powdered silver, tin, as well as trace amounts of copper. Mercury then forms a substance typically known as an amalgam. Mercury is otherwise extremely toxic for humans even in small doses; amalgamation is what makes it stable and safe. These filings are durable as well as cheap. The amalgam can be easily prepared by the dentist in his office, making it possible for the filling to be quickly finished in a single sitting. A drawback, however, is that mercury filling is quite noticeable. They also need a greater amount of drilling as compared to other types of fillings.

Composite

If you don’t want the filling to be that conspicuous, then the composite filling is an ideal choice for you. Composites are a mixture of glass and plastic, which are available in a variety of colours to match your teeth. Composites are less costly as compared to amalgam, however, they have a relatively shorter lifespan. They can easily crack and stain as well.

Porcelain

Fillings that consist of dental ceramics is very durable, look natural, and neither do they stain like the composites, however, they are relatively costly. They are formulated either in the dental laboratory or in the office using high tech modelling software like CAD-CAM or Pro-E. Despite the fact they are very popular from an aesthetic point of view, they are also fragile and brittle, causing them to chip or crack easily.

Glass Ionomer

When mixed with glass powders, acrylic makes a substance known as an ionomer. Glass ionomer fillings are cheap and translucent. They easily blend with the natural colour of your teeth along with releasing a small quantity of fluoride, which helps prevent further decay. However, they are not as durable and long-lasting as other types of fillings.

Benefits of Teeth Fillings

Stops the Cavity From Growing

The filling is a process to clean out the decayed part of the teeth. Then your dentist will seal that part of the teeth by pouring the filling material. Filling protects the nerve endings and prevents the exposure of cavity or damaged part to the temperature of the food you are eating or from the acid produced by the bacteria in your mouth. The reason for toothaches is due to the exposure of nerves to temperature and acid.

Improves the Structure of the Tooth

The filling provides much-needed support to the tooth and improves its structure, which was previously affected by cavities. Fillings are short-term solutions, but there is no harm to the teeth through their use.

Strengthens Fractured Teeth

The filling is a useful way to repair your fractured teeth. For this purpose, a white composite is commonly used. Physical activities like accidents, sports can result in the fracture of the teeth. Other than this, when you eat or chew hard things like candies, fruit or ice may also result in a fracture.

Tooth Fillings Can Improve the Color of Your Teeth

Discolored or badly-stained teeth are often repaired with composite fillings. Tooth discoloration happens due to excessive consumption of red wine, coffee, and poor oral hygiene.

Protects Your Teeth From Decay

There are small holes present on your teeth but aren’t considered as cavities. However, these holes may trap debris and food particles. With the passage of time, these holes may cause tooth decay. It is better to seal them to protect the teeth by using a composite filling.

Final Words

Dental decay dissolves your teeth, creating cavities. If left untreated, it can lead to serious dental hygiene problems, infections, and may even require surgery to fix. Tooth fillings are used to treat dental decay in common cases, but your dentist will be able to tell you if you need fillings or not.

At Coquitlam Dental Group, we will evaluate your case on how to restore and repair your smile and be able to give you a more accurate estimate of the cost of your procedure. Call our office today for a consultation. We’ll work with you to achieve better dental health before and after your fillings.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Tooth Fillings Can Be Done at Once?

Your dentist can give you more than one tooth fillings, as there is no limit to the number of fillings. If the same area has few cavities, then your dentist can give you multiple tooth fillings all at once.

Does the Treatment Hurt?

Due to the use of anesthesia, the treatment is largely painless. If your teeth are sensitive then the area can feel bruised or tender after the treatment. No need to worry about the sensitivity subsides within a few days. You may contact your dentist if you have any complaints.

What Happens When You Get a Filling?

First of all, your dentist will clean the affected area or clean out the decay and then fill a cavity. Then your dentist can fill the cavity with suitable material.

What Happens If You Don't Get a Cavity Filled?

Your cavity can cause severe pain if it reaches your nerve when left untreated. Larger and complex procedures are required like root extraction or root canal if the cavity reaches a root. Their procedures are complexly different from cavity filling.

Why Do I Need a Filling?

There are high chances of formation of plaque due to leftover food particles on the teeth. Oral bacteria from plaque when they feed on food particles. With the passage of time tartar is formed due to the hardening of plaque. Acid is released by the bacteria to dissolve the strong outer teeth layer called enamel.

How Much Does a Tooth Filling Cost?

The cost of tooth-colored fillings composite and porcelain is between $150 to $450. However, factors like the number of fillings and extensive tooth decay may increase the cost.

How Long Do Cavity Fillings Last?

The average life of cavity fillings is from 7-20 years. The life of cavity fillings also depends on your dental hygiene, size, and location of filling. Your filling is compromised every time you eat or chew.

Have a Chat with Us Today!

In search of teeth fillings? Get on the line with us today!