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Dental Tooth Filling

A dental restoration or a dental filling is a procedure to fill a tooth cavity of a decayed, traumatized, or broken tooth.
A tooth filling is usually needed to restore the function and structure of a tooth to ease chewing and preventing it from further damage.
Dental fillings can be used in many cases, such as;
1. To restore a broken tooth
2. To restore a tooth cavity caused by dental caries, that has not reached the pulp yet.
3. To restore a worn-out or eroded tooth.

Types of Dental Filling Materials

In modern dentistry, several cavity filling materials are available. Teeth can be filled with gold, porcelain, silver amalgam (which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper), ceramic or tooth-colored material, known as Composite Resin.
A unique material containing glass particles is also available now that leaches out fluoride and prevents dental caries. Such material is known as Glass Ionomer. It is used in ways similar to the use of composite resin. The site and depth of the decay, cost of filling material, and our dentist’s recommendation help in determining the type of filling best for you as per your needs.

Amalgam Filling

Dental amalgam was mostly used for fillings before the advent of other more suitable filling options.
Amalgam fillings are silver in appearance and are also known as Silver Fillings.

Since most of the patients now prefer a tooth-colored filling, amalgam fillings are less common now.
However, these are generally more long-lasting as compared to a resin-based composite. They can easily withstand heavy chewing forces experienced by the teeth at the back of your mouth.
An amalgam filling is also more economical than any other filling material. Dental Amalgam is Safe!
Although they are known as silver fillings they usually do not contain silver but the combination of other metals such as Mercury, Tin, Copper, and a small amount of Zinc.
If you are worried that mercury in the dental amalgam may be hazardous to your life, mercury is used in very little amount and do not cause any adverse effects.
If you are allergic to mercury or any other metal, do not forget to inform our dentist.

Composite Filling

Composite resins are the tooth-colored fillings that provide good durability and resistance to fracture that needs to withstand moderate pressure from chewing. Such fillings are a good choice of material for people who prefer a more natural look and have aesthetic concerns. Composite fillings are more widely used and preferred all over the world for its aesthetic and tooth-colored nature.
A composite filling can also be advantageous in many ways, such as;
1. Bonding to the tooth structure, as composites mechanically bond to tooth structure, providing further support.
2. Composite fillings can also be used to repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth.
3. Less tooth structure needs to be removed compared with amalgam fillings when removing decay and preparing for the filling.
But they can also be disadvantageous as;
1. They are less durable as compared to an amalgam filling as they wear sooner.
2. Composite filling can easily chip off
3. Such fillings are also expensive as compared to a normal amalgam filling.
People are often unable to differentiate between a Composite Resin and a Porcelain Filling.

Porcelain Fillings

Do you want a stronger and a more durable filling?
Unlike Composite fillings that need to be bonded with a light, porcelain fillings are usually cemented. They are made up of the same material as a crown or a veneer and are generally very strong. Because of their resistance and strength, such fillings are recommended for the teeth at the back of your mouth or the one having a large cavity. As compared to a normal composite filling, porcelain fillings are costly but are more durable and have a life expectancy of about fifteen years.

Gold Fillings

Gold fillings are also used for thr treatment in specific situations.
Such fillings are not made up of pure gold. They are made up of a combination of metals, same as silver amalgam fillings are not all silver; “amalgam” means a blend or mixture.
Gold fillings are usually combined with copper, silver, palladium, platinum, and/or zinc.
These fillings have many advantages, such as,
1. They are highly durable and can last two to four times longer than other filling materials.
2. Gold fits the tooth more accurately
3. Less tooth reduction is required
4. They do not damage opposing teeth
5. Such fillings are biocompatible with gums and other oral tissues
6. They do not fracture easily.

Filling Your Tooth

Our dentist will examine your mouth and assess the cavity with a dental probe to check the depth. They may also recommend an X-ray of your tooth to closely assess the cavity and decide what material goes the best for your tooth.
A local anesthetic is administered to numb the tooth that needs to be filled and the surrounding tissues to ease your discomfort.
The tooth cavity is cleaned and the decayed part is removed. If the cavity is deep and close to the root, a layer of Glass Ionomer Cement is placed in order to protect your nerve.
After the Glass Ionomer Composite is placed in the cavity in increments to achieve better bonding. Once the cavity is filled, the tooth is polished to give it a smooth look.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What are composite tooth fillings?

Composite fillings have durable and strong resin to fill cavities and repair cracked and fractured teeth. Unlike amalgam (silver) fillings, composite fillings offer a tighter fit than these older dental filling materials, and are aesthetically-pleasing because they are the color of your natural teeth. Composite, tooth-colored fillings are perfect choice for the people who want to fill front or back teeth.

How long does it take to get a dental filling?

Well it depends on the situation of your teeth.There are many factors that determines how long will the tooth filling procedure will be;these includes the size of the tooth cavity and how deep is the cavity,the location of the cavity,the extent of the fracture in the cavity and the how many filling will you need.Incase of composite filling firstly our dentist prepare the cavity and then the material is painted on your tooth and then using LED blue light it is hardened and the material is carved in the shape of tooth.The timing of the procedure depends on the extent of your cavity.Patient should keep in mind to sit up in a dental chair for a tooth filling up to one hour.

Why is My Dentist Recommending a Temporary Filling?

If a dentist is recommending you a temporary filling then it is for many cases and reasons.Temporary filling act as protective shield while a patient waits for an indirect filling to be designed and cast.Infact any dental treatment procedure that needs more than one session will most likely require a temporary filling.This measure is taken to keep your cavity safe and hygiene from being exposed.The bacteria may fill up in your cavity and can erode on contact with acid or they might crack or get fractured under the pressure of biting and chewing.After the root canal treatment or repairing of your crown,a temporary filling is needed to help your tooth pulp and nerves heal before the another session is carried out.The risk of infection remains high if the patient is allowed to continue eating and chewing with the exposed cavity.

Are Mercury Amalgams Fillings Still a Safe Choice?

One of the top concerns in public health nowadays is that Is it safe to expose our mouth to a metallic element. Well in dental amalgam the mercury is stabilized by the other element in it. This prevents free molecules of mercury, the real source of harm to health from escaping into the bloodstream in the form of vapor. Still few traces of mercury are still released from the amalgam while chewing but this level is still below the threshold that could cause harm to us. Amalgam is still the choice for back teeth(molars) due to its high strength as the subject of high biting forces.

How Do I Take Care of My Dental Fillings?

Here‘s how you can take care of your dental filling:
1. Practice oral hygiene daily. Carefully brush your teeth around filling slowly back and forth.
2. Avoid highly colored drinks and foods. Watch what you are eating.
3. Refrain from engaging in oral habits that can damage the teeth.
4. Avoid very hot or cold foods. These can cause sensitivity around your filling which can cause sharp pain.
5. Visit our clinic regularly for dental check-ups.

Does tooth filling procedure hurts?

It depends on the size of the decayed tooth. For most patients, getting a dental filling doesn’t usually hurt thanks to local anesthesia. Once your dentist numbs the area, you should not feel pain while your cavity is being filled. While it isn’t painful, you may feel some slight pressure as your dentist drills away from your tooth decay. After getting your dental filling, you may experience some sensitivity to pressure and temperature which is quite normal and it should go away rather quickly. But while some patients experience sensitivity, others do not. It just depends on the patient.

Can you eat after a filling?

Unlike Amalgam filling, Composite dental filling allows the patient to eat after the procedure. Well, we recommend the patient to avoid eating until the anesthesia wears off as your lips and mouth are numb and it will be difficult for you to eat. You can also accidentally bite your cheeks, tongue, and lips while eating as your mouth is numb. Although the composite filling is strong we recommend you avoid crunchy, too hard, or sticky food right after the procedure.

How Long Do Fillings Last?

It all depends on you how well are you taking care of your oral hygiene. Many patients see their composite resin dental fillings lasting for about ten years. But if you take really great care of your fillings, they may be able to last you longer than that — and even a lifetime! In order to help your dental fillings last longer, you should always see your dentist twice a year for regular dental check-ups and dental cleaning, brush your teeth twice a day, floss every day.

How long does it take for a dental filling to set?

After the filling procedure is complete, it takes around two weeks in the recovery timeline for the filling to harden.

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