All You Need to Know About Dental Fillings

All You Need to Know About Dental Fillings

July 10, 2018

Cavities are a very common dental issue, for both adults and children. That makes dental fillings one of the most common dental treatments. Here’s everything you need to know about getting a filling.

Materials

Fillings can be made of a variety of materials.

  • Amalgam: consist of a mixture of metals such as silver, copper, tin, and mercury. These fillings are strong, durable, and inexpensive, but are highly noticeable in appearance because of the silver color.
  • Composite: a mixture of glass and resin that can match the color of the neighboring teeth. They are not as durable as metal, so may need replacing more often.
  • Ceramic: made of porcelain and offer a more natural look. They are more durable than composite fillings, but are usually more expensive.
  • Gold: a very durable material, but for a much higher cost.
  • Glass ionomer: a mixture of glass and acrylic. This type of filling releases fluoride over time, which makes them a popular option for children as a short-term solution for baby teeth. They are useful for low-stress areas like front teeth or roots.

Procedure

The procedure to place a filling is quick and fairly painless. First, an anesthetic is applied to the area around the affected tooth. The decay is then removed from the tooth, along with any debris. Once the tooth is clear, the filling is put in place, cleaned, and shaped and polished.

After the treatment

The effects of the anesthetic may remain for a few hours following the treatment, so even though the tooth may be used as normal, you should be careful when chewing to avoid biting the cheek. There may be some sensitivity or pain in the tooth and/or surrounding teeth. This should go away in a week or two. If it remains longer than that, contact your dentist to have it checked. Care for a tooth that has been treated with a filling is the same as for the natural teeth – regular brushing and flossing will prevent the need for future fillings.

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