Fillings: The Essential Restoration for Decayed Teeth
Dental decay is a widespread ailment affecting people worldwide, irrespective of age. It starts as a small cavity but, if left untreated, can compromise the entire tooth structure. This is where dental fillings come into play. They’re not just about “filling” a space but restoring the integrity, function, and appearance of a decayed tooth. Let’s dive deeper into the world of dental fillings, exploring their significance, types, and what to expect during the process.
Understanding Tooth Decay
Before addressing fillings, it’s crucial to understand the problem they solve tooth decay. Tooth decay, or dental caries, occurs when harmful bacteria in the mouth produce acids that erode the enamel, the tooth’s hard outer layer. Over time, this erosion can create cavities or holes in the teeth, making them susceptible to further decay, sensitivity, and even infections.
The Role of Dental Fillings
Dental fillings are used to treat these cavities. Once the decayed material is removed, the dentist fills the cavity, restoring the tooth’s original shape and function. The filling also prevents bacteria from entering the cavity, averting further decay.
Types of Dental Fillings
Dental fillings come in various materials, each with its advantages and aesthetics. The right choice often depends on the tooth’s location, the extent of the repair, the patient’s preference, and the dentist’s recommendation. The most common types include:
One of the oldest and most researched materials used in dental restoration, amalgam fillings are often referred to as “silver fillings” due to their silver-like appearance. They are durable, making them suitable for filling cavities in the molars, where chewing pressure is significant. However, their noticeable colour makes them less aesthetically pleasing than other types.
Made from a mixture of plastic and fine glass particles, composite fillings match the natural colour of the teeth, making them more aesthetically appealing. They’re suitable for visible areas but might not be as durable as amalgam fillings for larger cavities.
Porcelain (Ceramic) Fillings
Porcelain fillings, also known as inlays or on lays, are custom-made in a lab and then cemented to the tooth. They resist staining and match the tooth’s natural colour, often being used for visible teeth. However, they can be as pricey as gold fillings.
Made by order only and then cemented into place, gold fillings are often considered the most durable, lasting over two decades. They’re well-tolerated by gum tissues but are notably more expensive and require multiple visits.
The Procedure for Getting a Filling
The process of getting a filling is relatively straightforward
Life After a Dental Filling
Post-procedure, patients might experience mild sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, but this typically subsides within a week. It’s essential to maintain good oral hygiene practices to prevent further decay and prolong the life of the filling. Regular check-ups will ensure the filling remains intact, and no new cavities form.
Dental fillings are an essential component of oral health, allowing individuals to retain their natural teeth even after decay. With advancements in dental technology and materials, fillings today not only restore function but also ensure a natural appearance. If you suspect a cavity, it’s essential to consult a Redcliff Wirral dentist promptly. Early intervention with a suitable filling can save time and money.