Dental fillings are substances that are used to ‘fill’ holes within teeth.
Tooth holes occur for various reasons which you will read about below. Dental fillings help to plug these holes, and more importantly, stop them from causing further damage.
When do Dental Fillings become necessary?
Two of the most common situations that require dental fillings include:
Cavities: These are holes within a tooth that occur as a result of decay and may lead to some level of discomfort or the complete decay of the tooth. To prevent cavities from expanding further and deteriorating the tooth or even infecting the gum, dental fillings are placed within the hole to restore the natural solidity of the tooth. This way, the dentist is able to salvage the healthy part of the tooth without the need for a complete extraction.
Broken Teeth: Ever had one of those nasty falls where about half (or more) of a tooth gets broken off? Or the one time you tried to bite off a bottle top and it left your tooth cracked? These minor incidents alter your dentition, leaving you self-conscious every time you smile. Dental fillings can restore your confidence in situations like this by restoring the appearance of a normal tooth. You may even decide to go a step further and make a fashion statement by choosing a flashy color for the filling.
Types of Dental Fillings
There are a variety of dental fillings available to choose from and these include:
Composite Resin Fillings:
These are the most common because they have the color and appearance of normal teeth and it would be difficult for other people to recognize the difference at first glance. The name composite implies that they are made from a combination of materials including plastic and glass.
In certain situations, it’s not just a simple case of filling in a cavity or broken teeth. It becomes more complicated when the cavity is so deep or a larger path of the tooth is broken and the remaining stump is not sufficient to be plugged with a filling, yet, it is still not complicated enough for a dental implant or dental crown. In cases like this, a measurement of the mouth has to be taken to fabricate an indirect filling (which may be an inlay or onlay) that would be inserted into the cavity or broken tooth during a second appointment.
Others include porcelain, ceramic, and glass ionomer.
What should you expect during a tooth filling appointment?
Unlike dental implants or dentures, tooth filling does not require much of an invasive procedure and it can be carried out in under two hours. The process starts by taking a scan of the mouth area and testing the affected tooth for the extent of the decay. After the site to be filled has been ascertained, some form of local anesthesia will be applied to the surrounding gum area to prevent you from feeling any pain or irritation during the process. The dentist starts by cleaning out whatever is left of the tooth and removing any decay or dirt (this may involve using a small drill). When the site is clean, the dentist will then insert the filling, shaping it into the desired appearance and polishing it to perfection. That’s it! You’re done with the tooth filling process.
It’s normal to experience some numbness just after completing the process but this should wear off with time and you should be able to chew normally by the next day. If any pain persists, be sure to contact the dentist for another checkup.g the process will be sutured up and you’ll be given time to relax and allow the effects of anesthesia to wear off.
Ready for a tooth filling procedure?
If you are interested in getting a dental filling and you live in or around North Suburbs of Chicago, Dental Wellness is your best bet!