Dental fillings are the most widely recommended and used type of dental restoration treatment. When you get a filling, your dentist will use dental tools to remove the decay from your tooth, and then fill the resulting cavity with filling materials.
When is a dental filling necessary?
A dental filling is necessary when you have tooth decay that has caused a cavity in your tooth. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in your mouth that produce acid that can eat away at your tooth enamel. If left untreated, the decay can penetrate deeper into the tooth, causing pain, infection, and even tooth loss.
Here are some signs that you may need a dental filling:
- Tooth sensitivity: If you experience sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks, this may be a sign of tooth decay that has reached the nerves of your tooth.
- Pain when chewing: If you feel pain or discomfort when chewing, this may be a sign of a cavity that has reached the deeper layers of your tooth.
- Visible holes or pits in your teeth: If you can see visible holes or pits in your teeth, this is a sign that you may have a cavity.
- Dark spots or stains on your teeth: If you notice dark spots or stains on your teeth, this may be a sign of decay that has progressed to a more advanced stage.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist can perform a thorough exam and determine whether a filling or other dental restoration is necessary to treat the decay and prevent further damage to your tooth.
Dental filling materials
At TC Dental Group, we offer two types of filling materials: amalgam fillings (silver fillings) and composite fillings (white fillings). The type of filling material we use will depend on the position of your teeth and your personal preference.
Amalgam fillings are often used for filling molars (back teeth), as they are made of stronger materials that are more suitable for teeth that get a lot of wear and tear. An amalgam filling is made up of a mixture of metals, including silver, tin, copper, zinc, and mercury. While there have been concerns over the mercury content in amalgam fillings, there is no proven long-term health risk associated with them.
Composite fillings are an alternative filling option that has been used mainly for front teeth due to their natural look. Recent improvements in the development of composite filling materials have made them more affordable and effective. Composite fillings are free from mercury, and we can match the colour of the filling to your natural tooth as closely as possible. However, compared to amalgam fillings, composite fillings may not be the best choice for a large filling in a molar due to their shorter lifespan.
What should you expect during a filling procedure?
If you need a dental filling, here is what you can generally expect during the procedure:
- Numbing: Your dentist will numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic to minimize any discomfort during the procedure.
- Removal of decay: Your dentist will use a dental drill or other tools to remove the decayed portion of your tooth and prepare it for the filling.
- Placement of filling: Once the decay has been removed, your dentist will place the filling material into the prepared cavity and shape it to match the contours of your tooth.
- Polishing: Finally, your dentist will polish the filling to help it blend in with your natural tooth enamel and ensure a smooth surface.
The entire filling procedure typically takes less than an hour to complete, depending on the size and location of the cavity. You may experience some numbness and sensitivity in the treated area for a few hours after the procedure, but this should subside within a day or two.
It is important to note that some patients may experience anxiety or discomfort during dental procedures. If you feel nervous or uneasy about getting a filling, talk to your dentist beforehand. They may be able to offer options for sedation or other techniques to help you feel more relaxed and comfortable during the procedure.
How should you care for your fillings?
Taking care of your dental fillings is an important part of maintaining good oral health. Here are some tips to help you care for your fillings:
- Practice good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day. This will help remove plaque and food particles that can cause tooth decay and damage to your fillings.
- Avoid hard or sticky foods: Hard or sticky foods can damage your fillings by causing them to crack or break. If you have a large filling or a relatively new filling, it’s best to avoid eating foods that could put stress on your teeth.
- Wear a mouthguard: If you play sports or grind your teeth at night, wearing a mouthguard can help protect your teeth and your fillings from damage.
- Schedule regular dental check-ups: It’s important to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. During these visits, your dentist can check the condition of your fillings and identify any problems that may require treatment.
- Watch for signs of wear or damage: Keep an eye on your fillings and watch for any signs of wear or damage. If you notice any changes in your fillings, such as cracks, chips, or sensitivity, contact your dentist right away.
By following these tips, you will maintain good oral health and help your fillings last as long as possible. Remember, proper care and maintenance of your dental fillings are an important part of keeping your teeth healthy and strong.
If you’re not sure which type of filling is best for you, or have any questions about your filling treatment options, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our friendly and experienced front desk coordinators will be happy to answer any questions you may have.