Dental fillings are used to fill cavities and treat teeth which are cracked or fractured. Tooth-colored fillings are the most widely used type of fillings, which are made from composites. They have great aesthetic as well as functional properties.
Do you need a filling?
- If cavities are left untreated, they can become severe and cause the failure of a tooth. Hence, they must be disinfected by removing the decay and filling it with a suitable filling material.
- Fillings can also be used to restore a tooth which has been cracked. This would prevent the crack from increasing in size and eventually leading the failure of the tooth.
- If you have a tooth which is chipped due to an external injury or a tooth which is naturally out of shape (misshapen), dental fillings can be used to restore them to the right shape.
- Dental fillings can also be used to reduce the excess gap between adjacent teeth.
If you have any of the above mentioned dental conditions, then you can definitely benefit from dental fillings.
Which is the best filling material and why?
White fillings or composite fillings are regarded as the best type of fillings. The reason composite fillings are better than their alternatives are as follows:
- Composite fillings are tooth colored. They can be made to closely match the color, texture, and shade of the teeth. Hence, they go unnoticed.
- They form a perfect seal and prevent the entry of foreign particles or debris into the cavity or crack. They also hold a tooth together and strengthen it.
- They are non-toxic, unlike metal fillings. Metal fillings (amalgam fillings in most cases) are often linked to having toxic reactions with the enamel of the tooth and also the pulp. This could cause serious infections. It isn't a problem in the case of composite fillings.
- Metal fillings may expand over time. This may cause the tooth to fracture and eventually fail. However, composite fillings don't have such issues.
- They are highly durable and long-lasting. With proper care, they may last up to several years.
How is a filling applied?
Applying a filling is a pretty simple process. Initially, the dentist screens your dental setup and determines the severity of the problem. Next, the tooth will be prepared before applying the filling. The cavity has to be disinfected and the decay has to be removed. The doctor uses a dental file for this purpose, after which, the tooth is thoroughly cleaned. A rubber sheath will be applied to the tooth to prevent saliva from interfering with the treatment process. The filling material will be matched with the shade of the tooth enamel. It will be applied to the tooth and shaped according to the contour of the tooth. The bite will be evaluated to prevent any bite related issues.
Care of fillings
After getting a dental filling, the tooth will experience a slight elevation in the sensitivity, which would wear off after a few days. Fillings are not immune to staining and stain just like natural teeth do. Hence, brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing keep the fillings healthy and prevent their staining. Biting hard objects should be avoided as it can damage the fillings.