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Composite Fillings:

A Detailed Guide

The food you consume has a direct effect on your dental health. When you eat coffee, chocolate, candy, tea, and more, but fail to take adequate care of your teeth, the chances of having tooth decay are much higher. When this occurs, dental fillings offers the best way to treat cavities or tooth decay.

From this new guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about dental fillings procedures including:

• What dental filings are
• Why you need dental fillings
• The benefits of dental fillings
• The different types of dental fillings
• Who is a good candidate for dental fillings
• Steps involved in the dental fillings procedure
• Lots more

If you want to learn more about dental fillings, this guide is for you!

Read on to discover more!

Dental composite filling graphically rendered
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Part 1

What Are Dental Fillings

1 - what is the service

Introduction

A dental filling is a restorative dental treatment used to repair minimal tooth fractures or decay in the teeth. A filling can also be used to correct damaged surfaces of the teeth. In this case, the filling material is introduced to even out tooth surfaces for better biting and chewing.

Dental fillings are mostly used to correct cavities, which normally result from tooth decay. This is why dental filling is mostly linked to tooth decay and cavities. It is used to correct enamel loss and all the troubles that can come with it, like tooth sensitivity.

Dental filling is achieved with a variety of materials. The different materials have their unique characteristics, but they are for the same purpose, which is to fill a void in a tooth. If a dentist is using dental filling to restore a decaying tooth, the decaying part of the tooth will be completely removed, and then the filling material will be used to fill the void.

Your dentist will know when you need a dental filling. It is important to listen to the dentist and get a filling just when you need it. Depending on such factors as the extent of the decay, your budget, and your dentist’s opinion, you can pick from a variety of dental filling options. 

What Are The Major Benefits Of Fillings?

Fillings are a restorative dental procedure. That means their purpose is to correct dental issues and restore your smile. Depending on the reason for getting a filling and the way it is done, the major benefits patients can derive include:

  • Filling will halt the progression of tooth decay by repairing the damaged portion of the tooth
  • Filling will restore the full function of a decayed tooth that was already compromised
  • Fillings will fix small areas of decay and provide a reliable barrier against bacteria that cause decay
  • Filling will replace the damaged portion of a tooth and also preserve most of the tooth structure
  • Most times, a filling will eliminate the need for more invasive and expensive dental procedures like root canal therapy.
  • Filling is an affordable alternative to dental crowns when it is used early to prevent further deterioration
  • Filling can also last for several years, supporting your natural tooth and maintaining the structure and function of the tooth.

Part 2

Why Do You Need Filling?

2 - getting help for you situation

Like other restorative dental procedures, fillings are used to correct specific dental issues. As hinted already, it is mostly used to treat cavities and serious tooth decay. The major reasons you may need dental filling include:

A severe case of tooth decay

A dental filling is mostly required when a tooth is severely damaged by tooth decay. Of course, tooth decay normally results from poor oral hygiene. When tooth decay is not discovered and treated in time, it can easily result in enamel erosion and an increase in cavities. Dental filling may be required to restore the tooth at this point.

Tooth trauma

A dental filling is mostly required when a tooth is severely damaged by tooth decay. Of course, tooth decay normally results from poor oral hygiene. When tooth decay is not discovered and treated in time, it can easily result in enamel erosion and an increase in cavities. Dental filling may be required to restore the tooth at this point.

Tooth sensitivity

Most times, tooth sensitivity is a sign of enamel erosion. The sensitivity feeling can always be more pronounced when eating, drinking, brushing, and when any type of pleasure is applied to the tooth. Sensitivity can also be a clear indication that you need

What Happens When You Ignore The Need For Fillings?

You should never ignore the signs of dental issues. Tooth decay needs to be treated as soon as it is discovered to prevent further damage to the tooth and minimize the chance of spreading to surrounding teeth and gum tissue.

If you ignore your dentist’s advice to get fillings, here is a highlight of what can happen:

  • Tooth decay will damage a tooth further and spread to neighbored teeth and surrounding tissues
  • Serious pain that can make eating and speaking very difficult
  • Gingivitis, gum disease, and other infections of the mouth
  • The damage can become worse and require more expensive procedures like root canal treatment, crowns, etc.
  • You will also run the risk of tooth loss.

Part 3

Types of Fillings

6 - types of crowns

Dental fillings are ideally classified according to the material used for the filling. These are the different types of dental fillings you can get at a dentist’s office:

Gold Filling

It is possible to get a cast gold filling if you can afford it. While it is an expensive filling, cast gold filling is strong enough to withstand chewing forces for years. It is a relatively durable filling, lasting at least 10 to 15 years and usually longer. Gold filling does not match the color of the teeth, but some people find them appealing.

Silver Fillings (Amalgams)

Amalgam filling is one of the most popular types of filling and has been around for many years. Actually, dentists have performed dental filling with silver for more than a century. While silver fillings are less expensive than cast gold, they are also very durable and sturdy. Siler filling can last between 10 years and 15 years. It is also strong enough to withstand chewing for years.

While silver filling is generally great, some people are eager to choose them for some reasons. One of the major disadvantages of amalgam filling is the fact that it is not aesthetically pleasing. It does not match the color of the natural teeth. It can also create a grayish hue to the surrounding tooth structure.

Composite Fillings

Composite filling is probably the most popular type of dental filling. Also called composites or filled resins, this type of filling is tooth-colored and features a combination of glass or quartz filler. Composite fillings offer great bonding with the tooth structure and can be used for filling the teeth, repairing chipped and broken teeth, and generally for small-to-mid-size restorations in areas of the mouth that perform moderate chewing. They are not as durable as the gold and amalgam fillings.

Ceramic Fillings

Ceramic fillings are also becoming popular in recent times. These fillings are mostly made of porcelain, which is a tooth-colored ceramic that is resistant to staining. The most spectacular thing about ceramic fillings is that they are relatively durable – they can last more than 15 years. The only possible downside is the price. Ceramic fillings can cost as much as gold fillings.

Glass Ionomer

Glass ionomer is a special type of filling that involves the combination of acrylic and glass materials to create a cavity filling that releases fluoride to help prevent further decay and protect the teeth. Glass ionomer is mostly used in filling the teeth of children. It is relatively weak and less-durable than the other options. It may need to be replaced in as little as five years.

What Is Temporary Filling, And Why Would You Need It?

As the name suggests, temporary fillings are fillings that are not designed as a permanent solution but will be removed in the near future. You would need temporary fillings in the following circumstances:

  • For any type of filling procedure that requires two visits – the temporary filling will be done to keep the cavity or affected area close and protected until the next appointment, when the permanent filling will be done
  • Following a root canal
  • To help a tooth’s nerve to settle down after the pulp has become irritated
  • In emergency situations (like a serious toothache) that need quick intervention.

A temporary filling can be removed when it is time to apply a permanent filling. If left alone, they may fall out, fracture, or even wear out within a month.

Part 4

Consultation and Planning

3 - about the procedure

The first step towards getting a successful dental filling is the initial consultation in your dentist’s office. The dentist will look at the troubled tooth or teeth and determine the best solution for it. If it is determined that dental filling is the best step to take, things can proceed relatively smoothly.

There are different ways a dentist can examine the teeth to determine the best line of action. A dental probe is always necessary. Caries detecting liquid can also be used to investigate problematic areas. The dentist can also use an X-ray to obtain more precise information about the location and severity of the decay, cavity, or any other issue that may warrant filling.

After determining that dental filling is the right restorative treatment for your tooth or teeth, the dentist will discuss the procedure with you and start the planning in earnest. At this time, your dentist may go over the available filling options and recommend the best one for you. You can also make the decision about the type of filling to get, but it is always better to go with the recommendations of your dentist.

Some of the factors that will be considered while determining the type of filling include the location of the cavity or any other issue, the patient’s medical history, aesthetic needs, as well as the budget and preference of the patient.

Part 5

What Is The Process For Dental Fillings?

8 - risks of getting a crown

Preparing For Fillings

There is no special type of preparation needed for the dental filling procedure. As you must have known by now, it is a pretty minimal invasive procedure. Your dentist will tell you how to prepare for the day, but most times, keeping your mouth clean is the most important thing. Depending on your medical history and other factors, your dentist will instruct you further on how to prepare for the procedure.

The Actual Procedure

The actual dental filling procedure will likely be done in your dentist’s office. As we have maintained here, it is a pretty straightforward procedure, and we will discuss it in different steps:

Making You Comfortable

Dr. Park will start by answering any questions you might have and explaining the procedure to come as thoroughly as possible. You’ll also have the option to watch TV in our op room as the procedure occurs so you can have a nice distraction from your mind.

Local Anesthesia

While filling is not a serious invasive dental procedure, it still requires local anesthesia. Our experienced dentist, Dr. Park, will determine the perfect local anesthesia that will make the tooth and the area around it completely numb.

Anesthesia is administered with a comfort syringe. The appropriate amount that will provide the perfect numbing effect for the filling procedure will be delivered to the right spot. Local anesthesia will take effect almost immediately.

Removal of Cavity

If filling is required to treat decay or cavity, the dentist will need to remove the decay from the tooth. In the case of a cavity, it will be cleared first. The goal is to clear the infected spot and surrounding area of any material (bacteria) that can cause reinfection or spread of the infection.

The dentist will have to probe or test the area to be sure that all the decay has been removed. The idea is to prepare the tooth for filling that will stand the test of time. Dr. Park will make sure the cavity is properly cleaned, and that healthy enamel is present before the tooth will be filled with the chosen material.

Restoring the Tooth

Once the portion of the tooth is free of decay and the cavity has been properly cleaned, the dentist will fill with the material you have chosen. Depending on the type of filling you are getting, the process of filling differs slightly.

Perfecting the Filling

After filling, Dr. Park normally perform a number of polishing and finishing actions to get the filling to look as good as desired. Depending on the exact type of filling you have got, there may be several additional steps to get it to look as good as you want it to be. This is especially true for tooth-colored fillings.

Some fillings may be applied in layers. A special light that hardens or cures each layer will be used. After all layers have been applied and cured, the dentist will then shape the material to the desired result, trimming off excess material. When the right shape has been achieved, the filling will be polished to obtain the final restoration.

Part 6

What Are the Risks and Possible Complications of Fillings?

5 - cost of a crown

Dental fillings do not have serious risks, especially when it is performed by a qualified and experienced dentist like Dr. Park in a renewed dental clinic like our Glenbrook Dental Center. However, we can’t completely ignore the risks and possible complications that can arise from the procedure. They include the following:

Tooth Pain and Sensitivity

It is normal to expect some level of discomfort following any dental procedure at all. In the case of fillings, you may experience mild pain after the anesthesia wears out. Tooth sensitivity is another common issue you may have to deal with for a few days.

Pain and tooth sensitivity that result from dental filling will resolve by themselves within a few days or weeks. You will have to avoid putting pressure on the teeth that have been filled or eating or drinking anything that causes sensitivity. If the pain is severe or the pain and sensitivity do not resolve within two to four weeks, you should contact your dentist.

Filling Allergies

Some people are allergic to metal fillings. This is more common in amalgam fillings. Though allergy to silver is rare, some of the other metals that are often used in amalgam fillings, like mercury, can cause allergic reactions. Most patients who suffer from filling allergies are those who have a family/medical history of allergies.

Deteriorating Fillings

Dental fillings will deteriorate with time. Sometimes, this can happen faster than normal, especially when the patient does not take the necessary caution to prolong the fillings. Constant pressure from chewing, grinding, or clenching can make fillings chip, crack, or wear away. It is important that you keep up your appointment with your dentist to ensure that deteriorating fillings are discovered in time and addressed.

When to Replace a Cavity Filling

You will need to replace a cavity filling when it has become weak and not fully functional. When you notice any sign of wear on any type of root filling, inform your dentist and have the filling checked. If the dentist recommends that you replace the filling, do so as soon as recommended.

Hopefully, your dental filling will last several years before needing replacement, but once it starts deteriorating, check in with your dentist to determine the best time to replace it. Remember that durability also depends on the type of filling material you choose.

Part 7

FAQs

7 - faq

Q: Are dental fillings a painful procedure?

Typically no – besides, local anesthesia will be administered to make the tooth and surrounded area numb during the procedure. They’re nearly pain-free procedures, but you may feel a little discomfort after the anesthesia wears out.

Q: How long does a filling appointment last?

A filling appointment will typically take between 30 minutes to one hour to be completed.

Q: Where should I go for a filling?

Feel free to visit our office, if you’re from Calgary, Alberta. It’s located in SW Calgary around Westhills.

Here’s a link to open up Google Maps directions to our office: Click Here

Our address is #204, 3715 51st St SW, Calgary Alberta

 

Q: Are fillings good for oral health?

Yes, a dental filling is a restorative procedure that can be used to treat decay and cavity, as well as a few other minor dental anomalies. It promotes dental health.

Q: Who is qualified to perform the dental filling position?

Only a dentist such as Dr. Park is qualified to recommend dental filling and perform it. 

Q: Do dental fillings last long?

Yes, dental fillings can last for several years. Depending on the specific material you choose, a filling can last between ten and 15 years. Some will last longer.

Q: Which material is good for dental filling?

The various options of materials used for dental filling have their different pros and cons; please feel free to ask Dr. Park about which material is best for you.

Q: How strong are dental fillings?

Dental fillings are quite durable. For example, metal fillings are stronger than composite fillings, but they are all effective and will last for several years when you take good care of your teeth and mouth.

Q: Are fillings a safe procedure?

Yes, fillings are a very safe restorative dental procedure. There are a few risks associated with the procedure, but you can rest assured that the procedure will be successful when you choose a dental clinic such as us at Glenbrook Dental Centre!

Part 8

Booking Your Appointment

4 - scheduling your booking

Request An Appointment

Discover how our team at Glenbrook Dental can guide you along your dental health path. When you request an appointment, our receptionist will return your message within 1 business day. Her name is Marj.

Part 9

Further Readings

9 - related info2

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