A filling is necessary to treat your cavities, which are essentially holes in your teeth that are caused by bacteria that cause decay. If it weren’t for fillings, bacterial decay could enter the nerve canal and cause lots of pain. Cavities should be filled as soon as possible.
A dental filling is a type of restoration used to rebuild missing tooth structure due to present decay, fractures or trauma. The ultimate goal is to allow patients to regain the functionality and the aesthetics of their smile while eliminating tooth decay and creating a healthy oral environment. It is normal to feel some discomfort, so your dentist may recommend an over the counter pain medication.
Patients often experience tooth decay because of inappropriate nutritional habits, poor oral care at home or genetics leading to many cavities. Before creating a treatment plan, the dental professional will extensively review the patient’s medical history and their daily routine in efforts to detect any underlying issues such as medical ailments that may be the reason for exaggerated decay formation. According to collected information, a proper course of treatment is chosen including suitable dental materials most beneficial to the individual needs of each patient.
Composite – Tooth-colored material is used to closely match or improve the existing hue of the tooth. Over the years, the composite restorations have gained great preference over the silver (amalgam) fillings due to their strength and durability combined with pleasing visual value.Composite fillings consist of plastic and glass particles and have become the most popular filling materials for cavities. The process includes a cleansing gel, bonding solution, filling, and a high-intensity blue light for hardening. The composite restoration can last for many years; however, due to its chemical properties, this type of material may absorb staining associated with daily consumption of coffee, tea, carbonated beverages or smoking. It may also have to be periodically replaced as its resilience to the impact of regular chewing is limited.
Inlays or Onlays – Porcelain material is used to externally fabricate these types of restorations. They are more sturdy than composite fillings and resilient to staining. Inlays or onlays are placed on posterior teeth only. Inlays effectively replace any small missing tooth structure on the occlusal surface. Onlays are applied where a large area of the occlusal has to be restored and may include partial coverage of the buccal, lingual or interproximal surfaces as well. In both scenarios, the porcelain redeems the stability and function of the tooth.
Amalgam – Often disliked by patients, amalgam fillings are the oldest method of tooth restoration. Due to some concerns about the effects of mercury, some patients prefer composite fillings instead. However, there is no compelling scientific evidence connected to any impact of amalgam fillings on people’s overall health. Mostly, the amalgam is not used because of personal preference of the patient. Amalgam still remains one of the most durable materials available today and is mostly placed within the posterior region of the mouth where it is not visible, but it serves its purpose well.
Although each procedure varies subtly, there are some basic guidelines to treat cavities, and they are followed by all dental professionals.
Filling placement is necessary to treat cavities and prolong the longevity of the natural teeth. With today’s technology continuously improving, new methods are developed to benefit the patients and ensure their positive oral health for a lifetime.