What is a restorative filling?
A dental filling, as the name might suggest something added to a tooth, to fill a hole. Most common fillings today are made from a tooth coloured resin that is crafted and moulded to fill the space.
When might you need a filling?
Teeth can break down as a result of various reasons including decay, leaking fillings, cracks or dental trauma. When a tooth decay starts it affects the most outer layer of the tooth known as enamel, if decay does not penetrate the enamel then it is still possible to avoid a filling by thorough cleaning and flossing. If the decay reaches the second layer of your tooth structure (dentine), this tooth will need a filling. This involves removing the bacteria which causes decay and also decay itself from your tooth and restoring it with a tooth coloured filling.
How will I know I need a filling?
As not all fillings can be seen with the naked eye or cause pain, regular dental check-ups and diagnostic x-rays can reveal a hole at an early stage before you start to feel pain of even notice that there is a hole. In cases where a filling is leaking (the filling is no longer 100% bonded to the surface of your tooth), the filling should be replaced as soon as possible. There is a very high chance of your tooth decaying in thespaces between your tooth and the filling. Leaking fillings may often go unnoticed, however, dental x-rays very often reveal underlying issues and decay from a leaking filling.
What material is used for the filling?
There are several different types of materials that can be used for fillings, the type of filling the dentist/oral health therapist decides to place will depend on the current status of the tooth when examined and what caused the tooth to decay, break or cause pain.
The most common dental filling material used to treat tooth decay/dental
caries is a composite resin material which comes in several different
shades and can be closely matched to your natural tooth colour. Composite resin is a strong material that can be moulded to restore the natural anatomy of your tooth. The oldest material used for fillings is Amalgam, it is not very commonly used these days as it is notorious for causing teeth to flex on biting which can cause teeth to crack.
What’s involved in a dental filling procedure?
During a filling procedure, the dentist/oral health therapist may administer a local anesthetic to ensure you don’t experience any pain or sensitivity during the procedure. Once you feel the anaesthetic taking effect, the dentist/oral health therapist will use a very small drill to remove decay and bacteria from your tooth and clean the area thoroughly to ensure there is no bacteria or moisture remaining. The dentist/oral health therapist will then use a combination of different materials to ensure the filling is bonded to your tooth surface and set the filling using a blue light. The final part of the filling is to polish the filling so it’s comfortable when you bite and run your tongue over it.
Contact us to learn more.