What is a dental filling?
A dental filling is the restoration of a tooth with an artificial, biocompatible material. The dental restorative materials usually have properties similar to that of a natural tooth.
When do you need a dental filling?
You may need a filling in either of the following conditions:
- Dental cavity – The dissolution and destruction of tooth structure occur during tooth decay. This process results in the formation of a cavity which should be restored with a dental filling.
- A sensitivity of teeth – The ‘wear and tear’ of the protective layer of the tooth due to heavy chewing forces, chewing tobacco or consumption of acidic drinks may lead to sensitivity of teeth. When the enamel layer becomes thin and the dentinal tubules get exposed, you may experience a sharp pain while eating hot and cold foods. We can solve this problem by restoring the sensitive areas of the tooth.
- Chipped or broken tooth – Tooth fracture can cause pain, sensitivity to change in temperature, difficulty eating, and other problems. If the fracture is restricted to the enamel or dentin, usually a dental filling will solve the problem.
- Post-RCT – A hole is made on top of the tooth to access the nerve when doing root canal treatment. After a root canal treatment, this hole needs to be filled with a filling material. Sometimes, this may be followed by the placement of a dental crown.
There are a variety of clinical situations when we may advise you a dental filling. Your dentist needs to first inspect the oral cavity, carry out diagnostic tests like X-rays, and then do the treatment.
What are the types of tooth fillings?
Different types of dental materials are used for the restoration of a tooth. These include:
- Dental Amalgam
This restorative material has high strength and is mostly used for restorations of posterior teeth. Few people prefer this material these days due to its metallic color.
Composites mimic the natural tooth in color, translucency, and other aesthetic factors. It is the most common choice of restorative material due to its superior qualities compared to amalgam.
Sometimes when a cavity is deep and close to the nerve we may decide to place an IRM. IRM is a temporary sedative dressing and is used to help the tooth to form dentin between the nerve and the cavity. Sometimes by placing and leaving the IRM there for three months, we can reduce the risk of needing RCT after a large cavity is cleaned out.
What are the steps in doing a filling?
We choose the restorative material according to your personal clinical situation. The steps in the treatment may vary according to the type of the material. For a filling, your dentist removes the decay, shapes the cavity and then fills it with a suitable restorative material. This may or may not be done under local anaesthesia depending on the procedure.
Usually, dental amalgam fillings and composite restorations can be completed in a single sitting. When a cavity is extensive an inlay or onlay may be an option. An extra appointment is needed because after preparing the tooth, an impression of the tooth needs to be mad and sent a to the laboratory. The inlay/onlay is fabricated at the dental laboratory, and when it is finished we cement it on your tooth in the next appointment.
After the restoration is done, we always check the bite/occlusion and polish the filling.
What are the benefits of dental filling?
As the name suggests, a dental restoration restores the functions of a tooth that may be lost due to dental caries, trauma or other conditions. A dental filling should be placed as soon as a dental decay or cavity is detected. A dental filling prevents the spread of dental decay and strengthens the tooth. Moreover, a smile makeover can be done with tooth-colored restorations such as composite fillings. Restorative dentistry is not limited to restoration of shape and strength of the tooth. Tooth-colored fillings bond to the tooth structure, give excellent aesthetics and mimic the natural tooth in strength.
We use the best quality materials so that they stay in your mouth for a long time and you don’t need frequent refillings. Our dental clinic is equipped with the latest technology and advanced dental materials to give you a bright and radiating smile. Book an appointment today to explore our services.