Restoring teeth which are decayed or damaged by filling it with inert material is what tooth filling or dental filling is all about. It helps in arresting the damage that has occurred in the teeth, and protects and restores its function. Tooth decay can set in right during childhood. While lack of oral hygiene is a leading reason behind tooth decay, it not the only reason. A combination of genetics, lifestyle and other issues contribute to damage to the teeth. These aspects make a person susceptible to decay and tooth fillings are an answer to this.
Tooth fillings are also used when there are cracks in the teeth. Some get it after biting on hard food like ice or nuts or if one is involved in any contact sports injury. Fillings are placed so these cracks do not develop into more damages and help preserve dental health. These cracks will attract bacterial action and can bring in infection in the teeth. When these cracks are sealed then the chances of infection are stopped.
Symptoms that show the need for filling
It is important to know the signs and symptoms that point towards the need for tooth filling. The most common and sure sign that one feels is that of toothache. There will be a dull or throbbing pain in the teeth along with teeth sensitivity felt while consuming hot or cold food. These show that the teeth are damaged internally sometimes and the function of the teeth is affected.
A crack or hole in the teeth also will be seen as a dark spot on the teeth. Sometimes the hole is not visible externally and will be seen as this dark spot outside. But there are also cases where the hole is seen quite clearly on the teeth. Another sign one can notice is food getting stuck in the teeth. The food that is consumed will easily get stuck on the gap/hole in the teeth. Rough edges on the teeth are also a sign of damage to the teeth structure and the need for a filling to set right the teeth. These rough edges can bring injury to the soft gum tissues. Another symptom that one can watch out for is the missing tooth filling. If there has been a filling placed in the teeth earlier, then a missing filling needs to be replaced as soon as possible. The open space in the teeth will attract infection and bring in more harm to the teeth.
Types of dental fillings
Different types of dental fillings are available to choose from. They vary according to the stability they provide, to the aesthetic value they provide, differences based on the cost of the filling and so on. It is also important that one decides on the type of filling after getting advice from the dentist on which is appropriate for the dental concern at hand. There are metal fillings available made from gold or silver. Some prefer to have this filling as it is the most durable of all the fillings. They can last up to 15years or more and can withstand strong pressures from chewing. But some do not want this filling as they can stand out as they are not similar in colour to the natural teeth. Dentists suggest this filling if the teeth that are undergoing this treatment are at the back of the mouth and are not the fillings are not visible.
Tooth coloured fillings are preferred by many mainly due to their aesthetic value. No other filling can come close to these on the quality and colour they provide as the natural tooth. Composite tooth-coloured fillings are bonded to the teeth and provide extra support to the teeth. This is usually preferred if the filling is for the front teeth or the visible portion of the teeth. If there are chips or cracks on the teeth these tooth-coloured fillings can restore the shape and colour of the teeth in no time with this procedure. Besides these, there are also ceramic fillings or glass ionomer fillings that one can choose from.
The dental filling procedure
Symptoms such as rough edges or decay in the interior of the teeth can be restored along with its function with this dental filling procedure. As with every dental procedure, this process also starts with a dental examination. This helps the dentist to find if the tooth is suited for this treatment. How far the damage has affected the teeth helps to determine the process suited. If the tooth edges are damaged extensively then there is the need for an additional dental crown as well to restore the teeth.
Once the filling procedure is decided, the dentists apply anaesthesia to the area which requires treatment, this makes sure that the procedure goes smoothly and the patient does not feel any pain or discomfort. The damaged or decayed portion of the tooth is removed and if the interior pulp of the teeth is infected, then it is also cleaned. An acid gel is used to flush out all the infections and then it is sealed with the tooth filling. The dental filling procedure usually uses composite filling. When that is the case, then the affected teeth are kept away from moisture as this can interfere with the treatment procedure. After the procedure the material is hardened by applying a bonding light. Teeth are polished after this to restore their shine and to make sure there is no difference with the remaining teeth.
After the procedure is completed, dentists will provide information on how to take care of the teeth so that future decay can be avoided. Decay usually starts with plaque formation at the teeth bottom. It is important to clean food particles or plaque formation. Regular brushing and flossing will help to remove them, but for best results going for periodic scaling of teeth is suggested.