A dental filling is a form of restorative dental treatment, which is used to repair minor fractures in your teeth. It is used for repairing cracked or broken teeth, which may have been worn down.
It helps to even out the surfaces of the teeth and this eventually helps to improve the function of the jaw for biting and chewing. Many patients who suffer from tooth decay also suffer from the sensitivity of the teeth due to the loss of enamel. A dental filling can be used to improve this.
There are several reasons why a dental filling might be necessary.
Cavities of all shapes and sizes may require prompt dental fillings. If you have a cavity, you should talk to your dentist, so that he/she will be able to tell you if the cavity requires drilling or a dental filling. If tooth decay is leading to cavity formation, then your dentist will drill out the damaged part of the tooth before he/she applies a filling.
A fractured tooth may require a dental filling. Teeth fractures may be caused while playing sports or an unusual accident. It may also be caused due to aging. Dental fillings are extremely effective for fractured teeth.
If you have discolored teeth, then you might choose dental fillings. The discoloration is usually caused by acidic foods and beverages. Sometimes, teeth grinding and the use of teeth to open anything might also lead to discoloration.
When a tooth is damaged, it is usually not easy to retain its natural structure. In such a case, a dental filling can help to enhance the support and visual uniformity throughout the mouth.
Even small holes in teeth are able to benefit from dental fillings. If these holes are not filled, they can start accumulating food particles which will eventually cause tooth decay.
First, your dentist will examine the teeth with a dental probe. An X-ray might also be required so that the dentist can know the location and severity of the decay precisely.
There are several options of materials that are suitable for a dental filling and for sealing a cavity to stop any further damage to your tooth. Some of the materials include porcelain, silver amalgam, glass ionomer, composite bonding, etc.
First, you will receive a local anesthetic, so that the area around the affected area is numb, and you won’t feel pain, during the procedure.
Next, the decayed or damaged tooth, along with its surrounding areas is prepared for restoration. A laser or dental hand-piece is used for removing any damaged part of your tooth. An acid gel can be used to cleanse the area for removing any remaining bacteria or debris. Next, the filling material is applied to the area so that the cavity can be filled.
For the placing of a composite filling, isolation of the affected tooth is required; this aims to prevent any kind of interference by allowing moisture in the bonding process in the composite restoration. For this, various adhesives need to be placed before the composite material. The composite material is then hardened for which a special bonding light is used.
Lastly, the finished tooth can be polished, which concludes the dental filling procedure.
After the procedure
After the dental filling procedure is complete, your dentist will need to spend some time with you, so that he/she can discuss how you can prevent decay from forming underneath or near the filling. These methods are also useful for preventing any further tooth decay.
Although uncommon, there are certain risks and potential complications of a dental filling and they include:
- Anesthetic complications
- Development of a cavity around the filling
- Injury to the mouth
- Expansion and shrinkage of the filling; this can lead to both the filling and the tooth getting damaged
- Need for more extensive procedures, especially if a cavity is large.
- Sensitivity to heat and cold in your affected tooth
- Possible damage to other teeth during the procedure
It is important for you to take your medications as instructed and follow activity, dietary and lifestyle recommendations as recommended by him/her. This will help in reducing the risk of any complications.
Make sure you maintain proper oral hygiene. If you have any kind of allergy to the metal filling used, then it is important to let your dentist know.