What are tooth fillings?
A filling/restoration is a way to restore a tooth that has been damaged by decay/trauma back to its normal function and shape. When you get a filling at the dentist, your infected and decayed tooth material is removed first, then the area is cleansed and a restorative material is placed directly or indirectly into the space.
Because the spaces where bacteria can enter are closed off, a filling also helps prevent further decay. Some of the materials that are used in the dental industry include gold, porcelain, a composite resin (tooth-colored fillings) and amalgams which are an alloy of mercury, copper, silver, tin and sometimes zinc. Here at Dental Essence we do NOT use any mercury based metallic restorations. Free mercury has known environmental and health concerns and to avoid these issues we have been a mercury and amalgam clinic free since we were established in 2009.
How do I know if I need fillings?
Often your first symptom will be sensitivity to drinking or biting which may develop into pain and discomfort thereafter. At your examination, a dentist will confirm the presence of decay or structural weakness with a visual examination, intraoral tests and possibly with the assistance of a digital radiograph.
When the dentist sees anything abnormal, they would check it again with special instruments. In some cases your dentist may also use an X-ray to scan your entire mouth or just a section of it.
What are the different types of tooth fillings?
Indirect CAD-CAM inlays and onlays
Indirect CAD -CAM inlays and onlays are made by taking a digital scan of the prepared tooth. The 3D scan is then electronically sent to a lab which manufactures a prosthesis. This prosthesis is then delivered back to us and we cement it in. Lab made prosthesis generally has the advantage of being much stronger than what can be fabricated in the clinic and are also more aesthetic. The materials are typically more dense and hence more resistant to staining too.
Direct Composite (plastic) resins
These fillings are matched to the colour of your teeth and are used where a natural appearance is desired. The filling material is placed directly into the cavity and a specific wavelength of light is directed at the filling which resultantly hardens the material. This filling may not be the ideal material for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time. Due to their porosity, they may also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco over time.
What are the benefits of Composite resin fillings?
The main benefit is that modern and good quality composite resin fillings are minimally invasive. Hence, they are able to protect the tooth structure whilst being very durable and long-lasting.
In addition to that, composite fillings can be blended in with the surrounding tooth structure to restore its natural share and colour of the teeth. This usually makes them the more conservative choice.
Which filling is best for me?
Your dentist will help weigh up the cost, lifespan, maintenance and cosmetic considerations to help decide which option best suits you. Often we pursue the most conserative method first.
What is the procedure of a tooth filling?
What are the benefits of tooth fillings?
The main benefit of getting tooth fillings is to restore the appearance and function of the tooth. Getting dental fillings can also help repair your teeth that have been destroyed by infection or decay. Restoring the lost tooth structure also, protects the underlying dental pulp that contains the nerve and blood vessels.
Also, dental fillings are used on teeth that are worn-down or fractured to strengthen the tooth and restore their normal function and shape. These days, modern and good quality composite resin fillings are minimally invasive. Hence, they are able to protect the tooth structure whilst being very durable and long-lasting.
In addition to that, composite fillings can be blended in with the surrounding tooth structure to restore its natural share and colour of the teeth.