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Dental Filling

What are Dental fillings?

Dental filling are used to treat teeth that have become worn, decayed, or damaged. They are constructed of materials that can ‘fill’ in areas of a broken tooth before being hardened. Dental filling cannot entirely cure all tooth damage, but they may be required to maintain tooth structure and keep teeth performing their critical functions.

Key Points

  • Dental fillings are necessary to treat cavities caused by decay or injury and protect teeth from further damage.
  • Various filling materials are available, chosen based on your dentist’s recommendation.
  • Dental fillings restore tooth function and aesthetics.
  • Consult your dentist to determine the best filling material for your specific needs.

On this Page

  • Dental Fillings Demystified
  • Types of Dental Filling
  • Post-Filling Expectations
  • Weighing the Pros and Cons
  • Additional Resources
  • Getting a dental filling
  • Steps for Receiving a Dental Filling

Dental Fillings Demystified

Dental practitioners employ dental fillings to remedy cavities and tooth damage due to decay or trauma, often identified through dental X-rays.

Types of Dental Filling

Various materials, such as composite resin, glass-ionomer cement, gold, porcelain, and amalgam, serve as filling options. 

Each material offers distinct characteristics to address specific cases.

  • Composite resin: 

Tooth-colored and bonded to the tooth’s structure. A portion of the old tooth is removed during placement.

  • Glass-ionomer cement: 

Also tooth-colored, though less robust than composite resin. Suitable for temporary fillings and other applications like fissure sealing.

  • Gold and porcelain fillings: 

Durable and customizable to match tooth color. Typically, two appointments are required for laboratory fittings.

  • Temporary fillings: 

They are used in cases requiring multiple visits or emergency treatment.

  • Amalgam: 

Comprising metals like silver, copper, tin, mercury, and zinc, it’s a strong, longstanding option but less commonly used today.

Post-Filling Expectations

After receiving a filling, you may experience temporary tooth sensitivity to sweet, hot, or cold foods or when biting. Persistent sensitivity warrants a dentist visit.

Fillings have a lifespan; they can chip, wear, or change color over time.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Fillings are a straightforward solution for tooth decay, but they may cause temporary sensitivity. Over time, they can develop chips or cracks, potentially trapping food and bacteria. Regular dental check-ups are essential.

Getting a dental filling

To repair tooth decay damage, your oral health expert will use tools, including a drill, to eliminate decay. Tooth decay softens the tooth structure. If needed, they will apply local anesthesia for comfort.

Once the decay is gone, they’ll clean, dry, and fill the tooth with a suitable material:

  • Composite resin (‘tooth-colored fillings)
  • Glass-ionomer cement
  • Dental amalgam (‘silver’ fillings are rarely used)
  • Gold (rarely used due to cost)
  • Porcelain

Each material has pros and cons, with suitability depending on the situation. Discuss options with your oral health expert.

Amalgam (silver) fillings are safe

Some worry about dental amalgam due to its mercury content. However, the mercury levels in amalgam fillings are too low to affect health.

Steps for Receiving a Dental Filling

Step 1: Ensuring Comfort

To ensure your comfort during the procedure, the initial step is administering a local anesthetic. This anesthetic temporarily disrupts pain signals between the tooth and brain, eliminating discomfort. For individuals with severe anxiety or those undergoing multiple treatments, sedation dentistry may be available upon request.

Step 2: Preparing Your Mouth

After receiving local anesthesia, your dentist may employ materials to enhance the procedure’s ease and efficiency. Dentists often use a rubber dam to form a protective barrier around the treatment area and maintain the tooth’s dryness. Another tool, a bite block, assumes a triangular shape and is inserted into the upper and lower jaws, keeping the mouth open, reducing muscle strain, and aiding in efficient work.

Step 3: Decay Removal

With your numb tooth ready, the dentist begins removing the decay. High-speed handpieces, also known as dental drills, assist in this process by emitting water to aid in decay removal. Excess water can be suctioned out using a saliva ejector to keep your mouth dry. Hand instruments may also be used to refine the area for filling placement.

Step 4: Filling Placement

Modern filling materials can closely resemble natural teeth. Your dentist will match the filling’s shade to your tooth using a shade guide. Once the ideal shade is determined, the material is molded into your tooth to mimic its natural appearance.

Foods to Steer Clear of Following a Tooth Filling

After receiving a tooth filling, it’s advisable to abstain from eating until the numbness subsides to avoid potential harm to the numbed area. Particularly, patients who have had a mandibular block may experience significant numbness in the tongue and lower lip. In cases involving composite fillings, patients can tolerate chewing forces sooner compared to amalgam fillings, but it’s still recommended to avoid eating for at least 45 minutes post-procedure. The mouth may feel unusual and uncomfortable due to local anesthesia during the filling. Your dentist will provide specific care instructions that should be followed diligently. However, certain types of foods should be avoided until the sensitivity completely dissipates. 

Here’s a list of foods to avoid immediately after a tooth filling:

Please avoid these stuffs after tour tooth filling job is done.

1. Candy: 

Sticky candies like licorice, toffee, and caramels can dislodge the filling. Opt for hard candies or safer alternatives like dark chocolate.

2. Hard Foods: 

Avoid biting into hard items such as pizza crust, whole apples, ice, raw carrots, nuts, and celery, as they can crack teeth and exacerbate sensitivity. Stick to soft foods like mashed potatoes and liquids like soups.

3. Hot Foods: 

Sensitive teeth following a filling may react to hot liquids like coffee, tea, and soup, causing discomfort.

4. Cornn on the Cob: 

Biting corn off the cob can be forceful and potentially damage the filled tooth. It’s safer to remove the corn from the cob before consuming it.

5. Acidic Foods and Drinks: 

Citrus juices, fruits like limes, lemons, oranges, pickles, tomatoes, and other acidic items can erode tooth enamel, intensifying sensitivity.

6. Beef Jerky: 

Sticky Like gum and soft candies, beef jerky can dislodge tooth fillings. Consume it with caution or avoid it altogether.

7. Foods and Drinks that Stain Fillings: 

Just like natural teeth, composite fillings can stain. Dark berries, cola, coffee, and red wine are potential culprits. Opt for lighter-colored options.

To avoid dental fillings

A healthy, intact tooth is stronger than a filled one. Prevent tooth decay by brushing twice daily, eating a nutritious diet, and choosing water over sugary drinks.

Regular dental check-ups catch issues early, preserving more of your teeth. Ask your oral health expert about check-up frequency.

Where to seek assistance

  • Oral health professional (Dentist)
  • Maternal and child health nurse
  • Dental Health Services Victoria offers public dental services, eligibility is required. Tel. (03) 9341 1000, or 1800 833 039 outside Melbourne metro
  • Australian Dental Association provides a list of private dentists. Search ‘Find a Dentist’ or call (03) 8825 4600.

The Way Forward:

In a nutshell, understanding what occurs during a dental filling procedure is crucial. While tooth sensitivity following the filling is common, maintaining good oral hygiene and consuming tooth-friendly foods and beverages can help prevent future cavities. At Bakery Hill Dental, you will get the best dental filling specialist in Ballarat. Contact us now!

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