A dental filling as the name might suggest something added to a tooth, to fill a hole, or as a replacement of an unsatisfactory filling. Most common fillings today are made from a tooth coloured resin that is crafted and moulded to fill the space, and compliment your oral aesthetic.
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. Your general dentist or dental hygienist may also recommend another product called tooth mousse plus as it contains CCP-ACP (Casein Phosphopeptide-Amorous Calcium Phosphate) which is a milk protein that remineralises by replenishing the lost calcium and phosphate in tooth enamel.
If the decay reaches the second layer of your tooth structure (dentine), this tooth will need a dental filling/dental restoration. This involves removing the bacteria which causes decay and also decay itself from your tooth and restoring it with a tooth coloured filling. 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 dental filling is leaking, this means the filling is not 100% bonded to the surface of your tooth, leaking fillings should be replaced as soon as possible as there is a very high chance of your tooth decaying in the spaces 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.
In cases where a tooth has cracked, it can become tender on biting and also sensitive to hot and cold. Amalgam fillings commonly cause teeth to crack as they force to tooth to flex on biting. Once the tooth is identified as being cracked, amalgam fillings would usually be replaced with a softer filling material known as glass ionomer. This gives the tooth time to settle down and allows the tenderness and sensitivity subsides, this particular type of filling encourages the nerve of the tooth to retreat slightly and in turn reduces the risk of this tooth needing a root canal. If the symptoms subside, this tooth will need a crown to prevent further cracking. However, if symptoms do not subside, this means the crack has penetrated the nerve of this tooth and it will need a root canal therapy in order to save it.
There are several different types of dental fillings, the type of filling the dentist or 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. Depending on the cause, or how many surfaces of the tooth have been affected, your Dentist will be able to determine what type of filling is best for the job.
A fissure sealant is the smallest and least evasive type of dental filling, they are more common in children from the age of 6 as adult teeth start to come through at this age in place of deciduous (baby) teeth. Fissure sealants are usually recommended because deep fissures (grooves) form on the biting surface of adult teeth as part of their natural anatomy (adult molars in particular). When food gets stuck in these grooves, it can be very difficult to remove with a toothbrush, especially for children. This means that food deposits will sit in these grooves and start to decay.
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 dental fillings is Amalgam, dentists have been using Amalgam for over 150 years. Amalgam is silver in colour and is made by combining mercury, silver, tin, copper and other alloy metals. 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.
Another tooth colored filling material is glass ionomer, this is a much softer material which is most commonly used to restore teeth that have previously been restored with amalgam. This material releases fluoride over a period of time which reduces sensitivity and decay.
The process of placing a fissure sealant is extremely simple and much less expensive than a dental filling. Fissure sealants are a preventative measure and does not require a needle or the use of a drill (in most cases). The dentist or oral therapist will remove the food and plaque deposits using a bristle brush and place the filling material in the grooves to give the tooth an even biting surface in order to prevents food from getting trapped.
During a dental filling procedure, the dentist 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 will use a 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 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.
Prevention is absolutely the best form of treatment, At Affinity Dentistry Deakin, our highly skilled dental practitioners and oral health therapist pride themselves in taking a preventative approach for restorative and aesthetic restorations. Brushing a home twice per day and flossing every day in addition to regular dental visits significantly reduces your risk of developing tooth decay/dental caries and many other oral health problems. contact us now to book your dental check-up and clean in Deakin, Canberra.