Tooth decay or dental caries is one of the most common conditions globally, with an enormous impact on oral health and general wellbeing. Commonly, this disease ends up in cavities that develop due to chronic teeth demineralization. Unfortunately, none of your dental tissues can regenerate or heal. Thereby, these gaps need to be replaced by other materials to restore their shape, function, and sometimes their color. Teeth fillings are all those materials that serve as a replacement for the tissues lost to restore and protect your teeth from further damage.
Moreover, dental fillers are useful in multiple clinical situations like fractures, accidents, crooked, broken, or worn-down teeth. Thereby, they are one of the most used therapies in contemporary dentistry.
What types of filling materials are?
Since the birth of contemporary dentistry, there have been multiple types of materials available to treat tooth decay. Some of them are still in use to this day. Nonetheless, as the technology advances, many alternatives have been considered, introducing newer and esthetical options. Among them, we can find:
Composite fillings – Dental Fillers
Dental composite is a tooth-colored resin that has been the primary material in modern dentistry. It has highly esthetical properties with more than 5 years of durability and flexibility to work for multiple purposes and complicated cases.
Furthermore, it is a versatile material that is often more conservative (preserving dental tissues) than other materials like amalgams, porcelain, or gold. Also, it is easy to use and practical enough to finish complete treatments in one session. Nonetheless, using composite requires a specialized protocol and technique and has less lifetime than other alternatives.
Amalgam filling – Teeth Fillings
Amalgam, also called silver fillings, is a metal alloy that combines silver, zinc, copper, tin, and mercury. These fillings were the most used material for years and the cheapest alternative available. Although a few countries have banned its use in their territory due to mercury usage, it has its indications and clinical advantages until today.
Moreover, the American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes amalgam as a safe material with remarkably high durability of more than 15 years, excellent resistance to chewing forces, but poor aesthetic results.
Porcelain is a ceramic material used for multiple purposes in dentistry. It has high durability (more than 15 years) and resistance while having an excellent appearance and performance. Nonetheless, unlike composite, it has limited uses and requires laboratory manufacturing or CAD-CAM technology.
Porcelain is mostly used as a filler in large cavities that involve multiple parts and sides of a tooth without requiring crowns or other complex treatments. Also, it is considerably more expensive than other materials.
Although it does not seem like it, gold is an excellent material for dental fillings. It has a long-lasting life, a strong core, and the attractiveness of gold color. Moreover, it has been proving more than 20 years of durability without corroding. However, they are the most expensive material to use and require laboratory steps and multiple appointments.
How is the tooth filling process?
The steps of tooth fillings, tools, and instruments required vary depending on the type of material, the severity of the cavity, your age, and the professional’s criteria. Some locations, like front teeth, are candidates for more esthetic materials like composite fillings or porcelain.
Although each material has its own requirements and indications, the following are some of the stages for a filling process:
- First, your dentist performs a complete clinical evaluation to determine your case severity and diagnosis.
- After concluding that you require a dental filling, he numbs the area around your tooth, using gel or spray before applying a local anesthetic.
- Having your tissues numb, he removes all the damaged and affected tissue using a drill, abrasive air, or a laser. In the process, he probes the tooth to verify all damaged tissue has been removed while preserving all the tissue possible until the tooth is clean of caries.
- Then, cleans and prepare your tooth to receive the material.
- If the cavity is near the tooth’s nerve, a protective material before the filling is necessary to avoid sensibility or pain.
- With the tooth clean and prepared, your dentist places the filling material, adapting it to the remaining surface and replicating its anatomy. During this step, composite materials require using blue ultraviolet light to harden.
- Finally, the excess material is trimmed out, and the final restoration is polished and smooth out.
What are direct and indirect fillings?
Direct fillings are those restorations performed inside the dental office. On the other hand, indirect fillings require laboratory steps and a professional technician’s help to achieve the final results. This is the case of porcelain or gold fillings that requires laboratory manufacturing. These types of fillings usually take more sessions in the office to finish and have a higher price.
Does tooth filling hurt?
Currently, most dental procedures are completely painless, thanks to recent advances in local and general anesthesia. When the anesthetics are not taking effect due to infections, your dentist will indicate medication to reduce the problem before starting the process.
What are the advantages of current dental fillings?
Teeth fillings are dental treatments that adapt to many dental problems. Years before, some clinical restorations were practically impossible due to technology and material limitations. However, nowadays, there are thousands of composite filling procedures perform daily. Moreover, some challenging situations are now accessible and treatable. As a result, you can have a small cavity fix with composite, a composite filling for receding gums, and even porcelain fillings for broken cuspids.
Thanks to current advances and conservative approaches, dental fillings can solve multiple afflictions while ensuring the following advantages:
- They require a shorter time
- They last for more prolonged periods
- Current protocols aim to save healthy tissues
- The filling process eliminates the pain and discomfort associated
- They avoid infections and further consequences such as root canal treatments or dental extractions.
- And, finally, they restore the lost function and improve your oral health.
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How can I care for my teeth fillings?
The best way to take care of your restorations is by preserving excellent oral health. Therefore, maintain your hygienic habits as you regularly would and keep a beautiful smile.
When you and your family are in search of exceptional dental care, look to our partners at Great Lakes Dental. Our dentists, hygienists, and team members share a goal of providing you with a beautiful smile that will last for years to come. Highly trained and experienced in the most successful dental treatments, we want to help you achieve a polished and healthy smile that illuminates your face. You’ll find all the tools you need to create a healthier mouth right here at our dental office in Plymouth, MI.
Let’s get started. Request An Appointment for teeth fillings
Dr. Rahaf Suede, DDS at Great Lakes Smiles Dental is trusted by many patients in Plymouth and surrounding areas for comprehensive dental care. She is recognized for her high quality dental treatment and patient satisfaction. Contact her now for an appointment Call (734) 459-9360Schedule an appointment