What is a Filling and When are they Used?
A filling is a type of restorative dental treatment used to repair minimal to moderate tooth fractures, tooth decay or otherwise damaged surfaces of the teeth. Dental filling materials, which include composite, porcelain and silver amalgam, may also be used to even out tooth surfaces for better biting or chewing.
Enamel loss is a common component of tooth decay, and may result in discomfort and tooth sensitivity In many cases, sensitivity caused by enamel loss will be significantly improved or completely eliminated once an appropriate dental filling material is placed. But in some cases, depending on the extent of tooth decay or damage, the affected tooth may require additional or alternative procedures, including:
Dental Crowns: Teeth requiring more support than offered by a traditional filling may require a dental crown.
Root Canal Treatment: Infected, abscessed or nerve damaged teeth may require a root canal procedure.
Dental Implants and Dental Bridges: Irreparable tooth damage requiring tooth extraction may require an implant or bridge.
Dental Fillings Consultation and Treatment Planning
At Reva Dental, one of the more common oral health issues discovered during scheduled cleanings is decay. Your dentist will examine suspect teeth using a dental probe and caries detecting liquid, as well as taking an X-ray to determine the extent and exact location of the cavity and decay.
Once it is determined that a filling is needed, your dentist will advise you of your options for filling and sealing the cavity to prevent further decay and damage to the tooth. Based on your medical history, location of the cavity, aesthetic needs, biting force, durability, cost, number of visits necessary and your preference, your dentist will decide which filling option is best for you. These options include direct composite bonding (white filling), amalgam (silver filling), gold or porcelain inlays/onlays created by our dental laboratory.
Depending on what your best option is, your dentist will usually be able to complete your filling immediately. In preparation for treatment, the area surrounding the affected tooth will be anesthetised (numbed) using a local anesthetic.
Dental Fillings: The Procedure
The dentist begins the dental filling procedure by preparing the tooth and necessary surrounding areas in order to restore the damaged area. The decay or damage is removed with a dental hand-piece, and the area is cleansed to remove bacteria or debris before the restoration is completed.
The first step in performing a composite filling procedure involves isolation of the tooth. Tooth isolation is critical in a composite restoration, because it prevents moisture from interfering with the bonding process. The bonding procedure requires the placement of various adhesives followed by the composite material, which is then hardened with a special bonding light. The completed composite restoration is both functional and natural looking.
Dental Fillings Recovery and Aftercare
After the cavity has been filled, your dentist will discuss steps you can take to prevent decay from forming under or around the filling, or in other teeth. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing with dental floss or an inter-dental brush once a day is advised. Keep appointments with your dentist for routine check-ups and teeth cleanings. Depending on your risk for caries, your dentist also may suggest sealants that can be placed over your molars to prevent the build-up of plaque and decay, as well as the use of fluoride mouth rinses as an additional preventive measure.
Also, since diet and nutrition affect oral health, it will be important to maintain a Balanced Diet and limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks, and snacks between meals.
Dental Filling Costs
Composite fillings are usually a bit more expensive than traditional amalgam fillings because they require a more sophisticated process, more expensive materials and additional office equipment. However composite materials are popular as they offer an aesthetic alternative to traditional amalgam materials. As such, people who have previously received amalgam fillings often return to their dentist to have them replaced with composite fillings.
The cost of your filling will depend on the number of tooth surfaces that need filling. For example, one tooth may have only one surface affected by decay or damage, while another tooth may have one or all surfaces affected by decay or damage.
On average, amalgam fillings are expected to last approximately 12 years, while composite fillings are expected to last five to seven years. This of course is dependent on your oral hygiene routine and and your commitment to continued dental visits.
You can see a full list of our treatment fees here.
Call Reva Dental on 056 7763786 to schedule your appointment. You may be eligible for a free check-up; see www.revadental.ie