Dental fillings are used to replace lost tooth structure that has occurred as a consequence of disease or damage. The decay of a tooth causes it to become hollow. Dental fillings are for sealing this gap and keeping it from decaying further.
Fillings are also used to restore fractured or cracked teeth, as well as teeth that have worn away due to bad dental practices such as teeth-grinding and nail-biting.
When should you go for a tooth filling?
- The most prevalent symptom that you might require a tooth filling is a toothache. Sensitivity to specific temperatures, pressure, or sweet foods, on the other hand, may indicate that you require a filling. Finally, you may require a dental filling if you feel acute or throbbing pain when biting or eating.
- Cavities are the most common cause for tooth fillings, although a white composite filling material can also be used to heal damaged teeth. These dental fillings help to delay or even avert tooth decay and damage in both circumstances.
- Craze lines occur on the teeth infrequently. These vertical lines are fissures in the enamel of the teeth induced by tension. This can be caused by actions such as TMJ, clenching, grinding teeth, or biting fingernails over a lengthy period of time. Over time, these ugly surface fissures discolour the appearance of teeth. Fortunately, dentists can hide craze lines with a tooth-colored filling material and restore the appearance of attractive teeth. Cosmetic bonding is a term used to describe this type of dental filling.
- Our teeth deteriorate as we become older. The flat biting edges become discoloured with wear, making teeth appear ugly. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can lead to tooth wear and injury. This might result in tooth chipping and severe injury. Using tooth-colored bonding as a tooth filling repairs the teeth’ surfaces and heals them. These dental fillings also help to enhance your bite and chewing capacity. After the fillings are in place, a night guard can be worn to avoid additional damage at night.
Tooth fillings are implemented by dentists to repair cavities so that they do not progress into more serious dental issues in the future. Fillings can be used to repair cracks and fractures in teeth as well as fill tiny holes caused by tooth decay.
Tooth decay, if ignored, can lead to significant complications. Your dentist can devise a strategy to avoid the need for root canals or even tooth extractions. To summarise, teeth fillings are beneficial and can keep you smiling for a long time.
Materials of dental fillings
Dental fillings are made of gold, porcelain, silver amalgam which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper, and Tooth-colored, plastic, and glass materials called composite resin fillings.
The type of filling that best meets your needs is determined by the location and severity of the decay, the cost of filling material, your insurance coverage, and your dentist’s suggestion.
Types of Dental Fillings
Silver Amalgam Fillings
The most well-known sort of filling is this one. Silver amalgam is a mineral combination containing 50 percent silver, tin, zinc, and copper, as well as 50 percent mercury. It’s the most preferred filling material by dentists since it’s robust, long-lasting, and inexpensive.
The average silver amalgam filling can last up to 12 years. Silver amalgam is also rather simple for a dentist to place in a cavity, and there is little risk of it becoming infected by blood or saliva.
However, there are several drawbacks to using silver amalgam. Since it is unattractive, it is not a suitable choice for a highly prominent tooth.
The material can also swell and shrink with time, leading to the cracking of a tooth. Food and germs can become trapped between the filling and the tooth as a result of these variations can allow new cavities to develop.
Composite fillings use resin and plastic substance that is inserted into the cavity while it is still soft then solidified under a strong blue “curing” light.
It’s a common choice since it can be tinted to match the colour of a person’s natural teeth, making it less noticeable than a silver amalgam filling. Composite fillings, on the other hand, do not endure as much as the other varieties do. They should be changed every five to ten years on average and most importantly, they’re also more expensive than silver.
The material used here is porcelain and is both long-lasting and appealing to the eye. Ceramic fillings are more costly than composite resin fillings, but they’re tooth-colored and resistant to discoloration and abrasion.
The downside of choosing ceramic rather than composite is that it is more fragile, requiring a bigger size to avoid shattering. This necessitates enlarging the tooth’s surface area to accommodate the added mass. Inlays and onlays are the terms used to describe these ceramic repairs.
Glass Ionomer Fillings
These fillings made of glass and acrylic are ideal for toddlers whose teeth are still developing. They emit fluoride, which can help to prevent teeth from decaying. However, because they are substantially weaker than composite resin and are more likely to shatter or wear out, they only last a few years. Glass ionomer does not match the colour of the teeth as well as composite resin.
Gold fillings are costly and uncommon, which should come as no surprise. In fact, finding a dentist who would offer gold as an option might be tough. Furthermore, the appropriate placement of a gold filling necessitates more than one clinic visit. Gold, on the other hand, is durable, does not corrode, and may sustain for more than 20 years.
The tooth filling procedure
Your dentist will first use a local anesthetic to numb the region around the tooth to be operated on. The deteriorated region will next be removed with a drill, an air abrasion device, or a laser.
The tool used is determined by your dentist’s degree of comfort, skill, and investment in the piece of equipment, as well as the location and amount of the damage.
Following that, during the decay removal process, your dentist will investigate or test the region to see if all of the decay has been removed.
After the decay has been cleaned, your dentist will remove the cavity of germs and debris in preparation for the filling. Your dentist may first place a liner composed of glass ionomer, composite resin, or another substance to protect the nerve if the decay is near the root. Your dentist will usually complete and polish the filling once it has been placed.
Tooth-colored fillings need a few extra steps, which are outlined below. The tooth-colored substance is put in stages after your dentist has treated the decay and cleansed the region.
After that, each layer is exposed to a specific light that cures or hardens it. Your dentist will mould the composite material to the desired outcome, cut off any extra material, and polish the final restoration when the multilayering process is done.
Causes of tooth sensitivity post-dental fillings
It’s not uncommon for a filling to cause tooth sensitivity.
Pressure, air, sugary foods, and temperature may all irritate your teeth.
The sensitivity usually goes away on its own within a few weeks. Until then, stay away from the foods and drinks that are the reasons for your sensitivity. Taking pain medication is typically unnecessary.
If the sensitivity persists after two to four weeks or if your tooth is particularly sensitive, it is highly recommended to see your dentist. He or she may propose using desensitising toothpaste, applying a desensitising chemical to the tooth, or performing a root canal.
The cause of pain around dental filling
When you experience pain during bite: When you bite, you feel pain because your filling is interfering with your bite. Make an appointment with your dentist to get the filling reshaped.
Your pain is most likely caused by the contact of two separate metal surfaces on your teeth (for example, the silver amalgam in a newly filled tooth and a gold crown on another tooth with which it touches). This discomfort should subside in a brief span of time.
Pain in the form of a toothache: If the infection has reached the pulp of the tooth, this discomfort might ensue. This “toothache” response might indicate that the tissue is no longer healthy and that a root canal is required.
Referred pain: Pain or sensitivity in teeth other than the one that was filled is known as referred pain. Your teeth are most likely in good shape. The filled tooth is just transmitting “pain signals” to neighbouring teeth. Over the course of one to two weeks, the discomfort should subside on its own.
Allergy due to Amalgam Fillings
It’s conceivable, but according to the ADA, less than 100 cases have ever been recorded. Mercury or one of the metals used in amalgam restorations is likely to be the cause of the allergic reaction in these rare cases.
Skin rashes and irritation are common symptoms of amalgam allergy, which are comparable to those of a regular skin allergy. It’s likely that you have a medical or familial history of metal allergies if you’ve had an allergic response to an amalgam. Another restorative substance can be utilised if an allergy has been confirmed.