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Types of Dental Fillings and Treatment Procedure

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

How to Brush Your Teeth

How often should I brush my teeth?

The optimum regime is to thoroughly brush your teeth twice a day – in the morning to freshen up your mouth and in the evening to clean off the plaque that has accumulated during the day. It is also advisable to brush after lunch – since if you brush at eight in the morning and go to bed at 10 or 11 at night, you’ve got 14 or 15 hours of eating for bacteria to build up.

Correct Brushing Technique

It is important to note that the brushing technique is at least as important as the frequency of brushing. The fact is that too much brushing with bad technique can cause problems. Lots of people brush their teeth too hard and while they think they are doing a good job, often they are causing wear to the gums and tooth surface. People think receding gums are a sign of gum disease, but it’s often a sign of too much scrubbing.

It’s OK to brush your teeth using either a circular motion or an up-and-down motion. However when it comes to the gum line you should tip the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and apply gentle pressure so that the bristles blanchesjust under the gums, then vibrate there and flick away. Your brush shouldn’t travel across the gums. It’s important to get just underneath the gum because a lot of food and bacteria get trapped there.

You should always brush your tongue, or buy a tongue scraper. Bacteria and plaque stick to the tongue, so do it whenever you brush. It should take two to three minutes to do a thorough job.

Don’t brush for half an hour after eating, to give your saliva time to do its job and neutralise the acid caused by eating and drinking. Before this, your teeth are at their weakest and brushing can damage the enamel.

Manual or electric toothbrush?

Generally a small-headed toothbrush with soft bristles is the most efficient. And it is usually best to use a soft-to-medium toothbrush, as hard toothbrushes tend to cause more damage. Electric toothbrushes are best in some cases but not always, although we do often recommend the Oral B Pulsar electric brush which is available to buy here in the clinic. However the important thing is to learn the correct technique.

Do I really have to floss?

Yes. But once a day is fine. If you are susceptible to getting food trapped it is a good idea to carry floss with you and do it during the day. Otherwise floss at night, and ideally before brushing because flossing opens up your teeth slightly. When you brush afterwards, the fluoride in the toothpaste can seep into the tiny gaps between each tooth. Floss between every tooth, using clean floss for each one, and go up as far as it will go without ripping your gums. Gently saw the floss up underneath the gums and gently saw it out again. This cleans the tooth and root surface, and removes bacteria and food debris.

Should you use mouthwash?

A standard mouthwash can wash away the toothpaste’s beneficial ingredients. Eating sugar attracts bacteria that deposit acid, and this creates plaque, which erodes the tooth surface. The ingredients in fluoride toothpaste help to reinforce the surface, so it can make sense not to use a mouthwash unless you have a particular condition such as gum disease in which case mouthwash may be prescribed.

Should you rinse with water?

For children it is best to wash out the mouth after brushing, because if they still have adult teeth that have yet to come through, they may end up with too much fluoride in their body, which can damage their teeth. For adults, it’s good to leave a film, but in moderation – you don’t want a mouthful of toothpaste.

Why do my gums bleed when I brush my teeth?

As mentioned, bleeding gums can simply be a sign that you are brushing your teeth too hard, in which case try choosing a softer toothbrush and follow the technique outlined in this article. However bleeding can also occur if plaque is left on your teeth and along the gum line, leading to inflammation of the gums which become swollen and red. This condition is known as gingivitis and a tell-tale sign is bleeding when brushing. Gingivitis left untreated can lead to a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. This disease leads to the destruction of the ligaments and bone that hold the teeth in place. Unless treated, the teeth may become loose, fall out or require removal. Be sure to consult your dentist if you notice your gums bleeding whilst brushing.

Call Reva Dental on 056 7763786 to schedule your appointment. You may be eligible for a free check-up; see www.revadental.ie

 

Nutrition and Oral Health

It’s an idea we all know – eating healthy food creates healthy teeth. However, for ideal oral health it’s important to understand the process by which your diet can affect your oral health so that you can improve your diet and eating patterns with better oral health in mind.

Plaque and Acid Production

Oral bacteria can generally be kept in check by a healthy diet combined with regular and thorough dental care. When we eat or drink, natural bacteria and particles of food sit in the mouth and accumulate around the teeth, causing plaque to form. This is a constant process which eventually leads to the formation of dental caries, or cavities.

Some foods tend to start breaking down when they have been swallowed and reach the digestive tract, a good thing where oral health is concerned. However, other foods start to break down in the mouth itself – this encourages acid production by oral bacteria in the mouth and thereby hastens the destructive process to tooth structure. Saliva helps counteract the damage caused by these acids, as does regular brushing and fluoride; however it is best to minimise consumption of these types of foods where possible.

Carbohydrates are a good example of foods that break down in the mouth – they break down into simple sugars with the resultant acid production leading to plaque formation and greater likelihood of dental caries. Included in this category are sugary foods like sweets and soft drinks, as well as bread and most breakfast cereals.

Unhealthy Eating and Oral Health

Eating sugary and ‘junk’ foods promotes the acidic build-up in your mouth. However, food that is sticky or slow to dissolve is just as damaging if not more so.  For example, ‘healthier’ options, such as raisins, can be just as bad as sweets as they tend to stick to the teeth and can take a long time to flush completely down the digestive tract. Jellybeans actually dissolve faster than raisins in the mouth and are therefore not as destructive (although they are very high in sugar and therefore also to be avoided!). Similarly, muesli bars, crisps or biscuits tend to stay in the mouth, giving acid more time to damage tooth enamel and increasing the chance of plaque build-up. Recent research has also found that sports drinks are more erosive to tooth enamel than soft drinks, juice or cordial. Ultimately, poor general nutrition can create long-term problems for your teeth and can lead to serious dental problems such as periodontal disease.

When you eat is as important as what you eat.

Eating a meal increases saliva production, which helps to neutralise the destructive effects of bacteria. However, if damaging foods are eaten outside of meal times, the acids can stay on the teeth for up to 40 minutes. The more snacks you eat, the more opportunity for acidic plaque to build up. In other words, sugary food eaten as part of a main meal (such as dessert) will create less damage than snacking on sweets through the day.

Better Diet, Healthier Mouth

Water is a key ingredient in reducing the damage caused by plaque. Drinking water after a meal washes out the mouth and reduces the chance of bacteria taking hold. The fluoride added to our water supply has been overwhelmingly proven to reduce the formation of dental caries. However you should also use toothpaste with fluoride added or use a neutral fluoride-containing mouth rinse. A healthy diet is also crucial for good teeth and gums. Choose whole grain bread or rice over white and lots of vegetables and firm fruits, such as apples, fish, nuts and seeds for protein and anything that contains calcium, beneficial for stronger teeth, such as milk products.

Food that increases saliva production helps neutralise the effects of oral bacteria. Aged cheese can help buffer acid if eaten after a meal. Sugarless chewing gum containing xylitol has been shown to reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth.

And of course, brushing and flossing after each meal is your first and best defence against damaging bacteria and plaque.

Call Reva Dental on 056 776 3786 to schedule your appointment. You may be eligible for a free check-up; see www.revadental.ie