If your dental practitioner has told you that you have a cavity and require a filling, you may be curious as to what getting a filling actually involves.
Firstly, there are many different types of filling materials out there today which might leave you wondering which one is best for you. It is dependent on many factors that your dental professional at Confident Healthcare will discuss with you such as function, appearance and cost.
Amalgam fillings are a mixture of metals including copper, tin, silver and mercury. They are strong and durable but have been controversial due to containing mercury. They are a less aesthetic filling material.
Note: Confident Healthcare is an amalgam free practice.
Gold fillings are among the most durable filling materials, more closely resembling the properties of tooth enamel. Gold fillings are non-corrosive and can last a very long time but can cost considerably more than regular fillings.
Composite fillings are the most common in dental practice today. They are tooth coloured and made from a mixture of glass and resin and are suitably matched to your tooth shade. Composite fillings however are not as durable and may need to be replaced more frequently.
Glass Ionomers are made from glass and acrylic which bonds chemically to hard dental tissues and slowly release fluoride over a period of time. These types of fillings are more suitable for smaller fillings in areas that do not take a lot of pressure, for example, tooth roots. They are also often a temporary filling material for baby teeth which are soon to fall out on their own.
Ceramic fillings are porcelain in material and are formulated in a lab. They can be quite abrasive to opposing teeth so your dental professional with ensure you bite is correct before considering this option.
If your cavity is quite deep, your dentist will numb the area using a local anaesthesia before commencing treatment. Once it is numb, the decay will be removed using a dental drill and any debris will also be cleaned and removed. The filling is then placed and “cured” (set) with a special blue light. After placement, the filling is then polished and your bite is checked.
After a filling, it is quite normal to experience some sensitivity for a few weeks after the procedure, even in adjacent teeth, triggered by very hot or very cold foods. If this persists for more than a few weeks, or is keeping you awake at night please contact your dental professional as soon as possible.
Please make sure to keep regular check-up appointments to ensure the longevity of your filling.