Dental fillings are a common procedure that has been around for centuries. Just ask any of your friends, and they will likely have a filling in at least one of their teeth. But why would you need dental fillings in the first place and why are they so common? Here we’ll explain why they are commonly used and some other interesting facts about dental fillings that everyone should know about.
Why Would You Get Dental Fillings in the First Place?
One of the most common reasons why you would ever need dental fillings is because of a cavity. In some cases, small cavities will be monitored to see if it will repair itself. But if the cavity becomes worrisome, the dentist will remove the affected portion of your tooth and use a filling to prevent any further decay from occurring.
If you have a small hole in your tooth, it can lead to a whole slew of issues if not filled. Bacteria from food particles like to make their way into these holes to break down your teeth. Holes can also expand and lead to cracks if not fixed. If a dentist finds a hole that’s of concern, they will fill it in to prevent any further issues from arising.
There are a number of ways that your teeth can become fractured, such as biting down on something hard or enduring a trauma to the mouth. Depending on the size of the fracture, your dentist may recommend using a filling instead of another treatment method. Small fractures can often be repaired with a simple dental filling depending on the type and size of the injury.
Have your teeth changed colour because of years of exposure to wine, coffee, candy and soda? Dentists also use fillings to cover up any stained or discoloured teeth that you may have.
Replacing Old Fillings
Over time, your fillings will wear down and need to be replaced. Your dentist may also recommend that you change out your silver amalgam fillings for composite ones. When this happens, they will replace your old fillings with new ones that will provide the proper support you need.
The Dental Filling Procedure
Numbing The Area
To prevent any pain during your procedure, your dentist will apply a numbing gel to the area. Once this has set in and your gums have become numb, the dentist will administer a local anesthetic to prevent you from feeling anything during your procedure. A bite block will also be placed in your mouth to help keep your jaw open so your muscles can relax during the process.
Removing Any Decay
Once the area is prepared, your dentist will then clean out any decay and bacteria from the tooth. This is done by using specific dental instruments that drill through the enamel to reach the decayed area in order to remove it. You will notice water and air being sprayed into the area which helps keep the tooth clean and clearly visible.
Adding The Filling
Depending on the type of filling material you will receive, your dentist will either fill the tooth right then and there or will take an impression of your tooth and add a temporary filling until the permanent one is made in the laboratory. Once it’s placed in the area, they will ensure that your bite is correctly aligned with your teeth by having you bite down on a piece of carbon paper. They will then smooth it out so that it fits properly inside the tooth and polish it, so there are no rough edges.
After a dental filling has been placed, the anesthetic will take a few hours to wear off. Until it does, it’s recommended that the patient avoids chewing on the numb side of their mouth to prevent biting the cheek or tongue. Once the anesthesia wears off, there may be some mild discomfort for the next few days. However, the dentist may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever to help with any discomfort. Patients may also be more sensitive to hot or cold drink and food, but this should subside in a few days. Fillings should be treated like regular teeth and brushed twice daily to ensure an optimal lifespan.
Common Types of Fillings
There are a variety of materials that can be used as dental filling. Some fillings are made right in the dental office during your visit such as amalgam and composite resins. Other materials are made in a laboratory such as gold and porcelain fillings. Your dentist will discuss the options of materials available to you depending on your dental situation.
Dental fillings are a safe and simple procedure to help protect your teeth from bacteria and decay. It’s the leading treatment method to fix cavities, and it’s also used to improve the look and function of your teeth. At Dentistry at the Crossing, we regularly fill and replace dental fillings to fix teeth and improve the overall structure of them. It’s important that you visit your dentist regularly so that they can make sure that you get the treatment you need if a cavity, hole, fracture or discolouration occurs. To learn more contact us today!