‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ This age-old adage has stood the test of time and is especially true regarding oral health.
Restorative dentistry has made great strides in helping individuals maintain healthy smiles through dental fillings.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of dental fillings, the types of fillings, who is the best candidate for them, how to prepare for a dental filling procedure, post-filling care and maintenance, and when it is time to replace it.
The Benefits of Dental Fillings
Dental fillings provide several benefits to individuals who have experienced tooth degradation. Tooth fillings are a form of dental treatment that can restore teeth to a natural, healthy state. The filling material used depends on the size of the cavity, the patient’s needs, and the dentist’s recommendation. Common types of fillings include amalgam, gold, composite, and porcelain. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Dental amalgam fillings are the most common and least expensive type of filling. They are made of a combination of metals and are strong and durable. Gold fillings are more expensive, but they are also very durable and long-lasting. Composite fillings are made of glass and plastic and are more aesthetically pleasing as they blend in with the colour of the natural teeth. Porcelain fillings are also very aesthetic and more resistant to wear and tear.
Overall, dental fillings are a great way to restore teeth damaged by tooth decay. The filling material chosen should be based on the patient’s individual needs and the recommendation of the dentist. Fillings can provide a safe, effective way to restore a person’s natural teeth and enhance oral health.
Types of Dental Fillings
Types of fillings used in restorative dentistry include metal amalgam, composite resin, and porcelain. To serve our patients, dental professionals must choose the best type of filling for their specific restorative needs.
- Metal amalgam is composed of a combination of metals such as silver, tin, and copper and is sometimes referred to as silver amalgam. This type of filling is longer lasting and is often used in molars.
- Composite resin fillings are made from quartz, glass ionomer, and acrylic resin. This type of filling is used in the front teeth and is aesthetically pleasing because it can be shaded to match the natural colour of the patient’s teeth.
- Porcelain fillings are popular for their strength and durability. Porcelain is more resistant to staining and can be shaped and shaded to match the surrounding teeth.
- Temporary fillings are used temporarily while awaiting dental visits or when dental filling materials are being prepared.
A dental filling procedure is necessary to treat decayed teeth. The filling used will vary depending on the patient’s needs. Dental professionals must choose the best type of filling to ensure the patient receives the best care.
Prior to undergoing a dental filling procedure, it is important to understand the steps involved in preparing for the procedure.
The tooth structure must be thoroughly examined to determine if decay-causing bacteria are present and if there is enough tooth structure to support a replacement filling.
If a tooth-coloured filling is chosen, the tooth must be prepared for the composite or composite resin material to bond to the tooth.
The tooth should be cleaned of any food particles, and cold food should be avoided as it can send pain signals to the tooth being filled.
Additionally, the patient should inform the dentist of any medications they are taking that could interfere with the procedure.
Finally, the dentist may take X-rays to ensure the tooth is ready for a filling.
The preparation for a dental filling procedure is essential for a successful outcome and should be discussed with the dental professional before the procedure.
Best Candidates for Dental Fillings
Patients with tooth decay or dental cavities are the best candidates for dental fillings. Dental fillings are a restorative dentistry treatment that helps to repair damaged teeth and restore their natural function. Fillings can also be used to replace a tooth lost due to an emergency dental situation, such as an accident or injury. Tooth-coloured fillings are used to replace any additional decay that is found in the tooth or to replace any of the natural tooth structure that has been lost. A root canal procedure may be necessary if the decay has reached the tooth’s root.
Fillings are available in various materials, including composite and porcelain, and can be matched to the tooth’s natural colour. Some materials, such as gold or porcelain inlays, may be used to provide a darker colour that can provide a more comfortable level for the patient.
In addition to dental fillings, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and practice proper oral hygiene to help keep the teeth healthy and free of decay. Regular dental visits are essential to detect problems and receive early treatment when needed.
Post-Filling Care and Maintenance
After receiving a dental filling, proper care and maintenance are essential to ensure the tooth remains healthy. Generally, dental fillings are used to treat cavities caused by tooth decay and restore the strength of the affected tooth. A wide range of dental filling options exists today, such as traditional silver and gold fillings, tooth-coloured composite fillings, and glass ionomer fillings. Each type of filling has different characteristics and benefits, and a dental professional can help determine the best option for a patient’s needs.
To ensure that a filling lasts for a long time, it is important to take good care of the filled tooth:
- Daily Care: Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to remove food particles and bacteria.
- Watch Out for Cavities: Have regular check-ups with a dental professional to look for signs of new cavities and any potential issues with the filling.
- Avoid Hard Foods: Avoid hard, sticky, and chewy foods that could damage the filling.
Following these preventive measures and good oral hygiene habits can help reduce the risk of cavities and ensure that the tooth with a dental filling remains healthy.
Knowing When to Replace a Dental Filling
Over time, a dental filling may need to be replaced due to wear or decay. To determine if a filling needs to be replaced, a dentist will examine the filled tooth, the surrounding gum tissues, and the patient’s medical and dental history. If a dental filling shows signs of wear or decay, root canal therapy or additional cavity fillings may be necessary. Tooth grinding, or bruxism, can also cause the filling to deteriorate over time. Insurance coverage may vary depending on the filling being replaced.
Occasionally, a dental filling may need to be replaced due to excess material or discolouration. If the filling has become loose, contains decayed material, or has cracks, it will be removed and replaced with a new one. Tooth-coloured fillings, made from composite resin and glass particles, are popular as they blend in with surrounding teeth. Indirect fillings, such as gold or porcelain, may also be used. Ultimately, the dentist will determine the best option for the patient.
Restorative dentistry is an essential aspect of oral health. Dental fillings are a cost-effective and reliable way to address existing cavities and repair damaged teeth. They come in a variety of materials and are relatively easy to install. With proper post-filling care, a dental filling can last for years.
But when they wear down or are damaged, it is important to replace them quickly to prevent further damage. All in all, dental fillings are an important part of maintaining a healthy, beautiful smile.
If you would like to know more about dental fillings or need one replaced, look no further than SmileWorks Dental Kensington, VIC. Our experienced dentists in Kensington will provide the highest quality care and ensure your dental filling is properly installed and maintained. With our advanced treatments, you can rest assured that your smile will look and feel its best. Contact us today to book a dental appointment and get the healthy, beautiful smile you deserve.