Dental Fillings

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How will I know if I need a filling?

Whether or not you require a filling will be revealed during a routine dental check up. If the filling is small and there are no symptoms, your dentist will be the first person to notice it. At times, you could have sensitivity in a particular tooth and that tooth might have a moderate to a large cavity.

The most common use of tooth fillings is to fill a cavity in the tooth. But tooth fillings also can be used to replace part of a broken tooth.

How long does a filling take?
  • You should expect to be at your dentist’s office for around an hour. This gives him or her enough time to take x-rays if needed, talk to you about the procedure and complete the dental work.
  • Before filling cavities, your dentist may numb your teeth, gums and surrounding skin to avoid and lessen discomfort during the procedure.
  • Next, he or she will drill out the decay in the tooth and replace it with a filling. This process only takes a few minutes.
  • Once you’re done, your mouth will probably remain numb for a few more hours.
  • There aren’t any significant risks associated with filling cavities, but be sure to keep your dentist’s contact information on hand in case you have any questions or complications.
What are the different types of fillings

There are various types of fillings available including:

Composite Fillings – A composite filling is a tooth colored resin filling. It is the most preferred filling these days since it requires less drilling, is highly esthetic and is economical. These stay in place due to mechanical and chemical retention.

Amalgam Fillings – Amalgam fillings are made from a mixture of metals including mercury and silver. Other than being a mercury alloy, this filling is highly unaesthetic,requires more drilling since these fillings rely on mechanical retention. These fillings are generally used for the back teeth.

Gold Fillings – Gold fillings are made from gold. Gold fillings do not match the natural color of your teeth and are expensive. They usually cost six to ten times more than amalgam.

Ceramic Fillings – Ceramic fillings are made of porcelain and are tooth colored, so they look natural. An impression of the tooth is made and these filings are then made in the lab. After being made in the lab, these are cemented in the prepared cavity. The strength of these fillings is very high and they generally last a long time.

Glass Ionomer Fillings – These fillings are made from acrylic and fluoroaluminosilicate, a component of glass. These type of fillings have a fluoride release mechanism but do not have a high strength. They are generally used for filling baby teeth.

Which is the most popular dental filling these days?

The most popular filling is the composite filling. There are a number of reasons for it to be popular

  • It is aesthetically pleasing and the range of shades allows the filling to be matched to any shade of the tooth.
  • It requires very little tooth reduction as it relies on both chemical and mechanical bonding.
  • If there is a recurrent cavity under the filling ( as may be the case with any other filling), it can be very easily detected and filled at an early stage
  • It has good strength in both the front and the back teeth
  • It is mercury free as may be the case with other fillings like amalgam fillings
  • It is a non metallic filling and hence it does not produce galvanism amongst different kinds of metal fillings
  • You can start chewing with a composite filling as soon as you walk out of the dentist’s office in except that you would have to wait for the anesthesia to wear off.

Watch Video to know more about

Composite Fillings

Postoperative instructions after Dental Filling

  • In case you have been administered anesthesia, kindly avoid chewing from the anesthetized area for a couple of hours till the effect of anesthesia wears off.
  • In case you have not been administered anesthesia, you can start chewing almost immediately
  • In case of silver and gold fillings, kindly avoid taking very hot or very cold foods for 24 hours
  • In case of sensitivity in a tooth following a filling, it can take about 2 to 3 weeks to settle down. However, if the sensitivity increases with time, please report to your dentist
  • In case you feel, the filling is high, kindly contact your dentist at the earliest. He will reduce the filling by grinding it.
  • Please be sure to go for your six monthly visits. Your dentist might want to polish your composite fillings from time to time to see that they are smooth and are not accumulating plaque.