plasticLet’s face it, a large proportion of us have had fillings. With our heads tilted back we hear the dentist’s drill as they prepare to administer a procedure which should, in the long-term, help prevent pain and the decaying of the tooth. We might wince, and perhaps kick ourselves for not taking better care of our teeth, but in the long run we know it’s for the best.

Have you ever stopped to think about what fillings are; the important function they perform to assist our oral hygiene? Did you know fillings have been an integral part of dentistry for the past century? Well, hopefully we can provide a little more information about fillings.

Learn More About Fillings

So, to start with, just what is a filling? Well, in a nutshell, fillings are used to treat cavities in the teeth caused by decay or to repair broken, cracked or chipped teeth. Different materials can be used to perform this procedure, including dental composites and metallic alloys such as gold. They can be white, they can be blue and they can even be shiny! The choice will be up to you and your dentist, depending on what is practical, as well as what the patient might prefer for their appearance.

Let’s go back to before the filling is administered and consider why the dentist may advice you to have a filling in the first place. Now, there are a number of reasons why you might need a filling. Perhaps your teeth have become worn and damaged due to constant grinding. Decay may have occurred over time because you haven’t taken proper care of your teeth by not brushing enough and eating too much of the wrong kinds of food. There might be another reason – maybe you have chipped your tooth in an accident. If the cavity is there it will need repairing – so don’t let the damage build up, get advice and help from your dentist as soon as possible.

Now let’s look at the procedure of putting in place a filling.

Administering A Filling

dentalThe most common type of filling is a direct filling, which uses a dental amalgam. To start with the area being treated will be numbed with a local anaesthetic and then the dentist will go to work with either a drill, laser or air abrasion tool to get rid of the decay. After the decay is not more the dentist will then clear bacteria from the cavity and then apply the chosen filling. Finally, the filling is cleaned and polished – and you should be free to go!

However, at times there may be some complexities which need to be addressed. For example, if the decay is close to the root then a special liner might be placed to protect the nerve. In cases where the patient has opted for a tooth-coloured filling then extra work may be required as layers of filling are applied and a light used to harden each layer along the way.

What Next?

Well, it goes without saying that you should have regular check-ups with your dentist to keep an eye on your teeth and specifically your filling. In the short-term you might experience some sensitivity in the area where the filling has been carried out. If this continues over a longer period of time it might be a symptom of something more serious and in that case root canal treatment may be required.

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