A dental filling is used to fix broken or cracked teeth, and teeth damaged by nail-biting and grinding.

WHAT STEPS ARE INVOLVED WHEN FILLING A TOOTH?

The dentist will use a local anesthetic to reduce the pain surrounding the tooth that needs to be filled. Then, an air abrasion tool or laser may be employed to eliminate the decayed portion. The selection of the instrument is based on the dentist’s degree of comfort, training, and financial investment in the specific piece of equipment, in addition to the location and severity of the decay.

After that, your dentist will examine the region to determine if decay has been eliminated. After examining the teeth, the dentist prepares the cavity to be filled by cleansing the hole of any debris and bacteria. In the case of decay close to a nerve, your dentist will start by putting in a line of glass Ionomer, composite resin, or any other material that protects the nerve. After the Dental Filling is placed, the dentist will then finish and polish the filling.

A few additional steps are needed to apply tooth-colored fillings. When your dentist extracts any decayed tooth and cleanses the area, the tooth-colored filling is applied in layers. After that, a specific illumination is used that “cures” or hardens each layer. After the multilayering process has been completed, the dentist will shape the composite material according to the desired form, trim away any extra material, and polish.

WHAT KINDS OF FILLING MATERIALS ARE AVAILABLE?

Today, many types of fillings for dental use are available. Teeth fillings can be made using porcelain, gold-silver amalgam (which is composed of mercury that has been amalgamated with silver, tin, copper, and zinc) as well as tooth-colored plastics, and other materials known as composite fillings made of resin.

There is also a substance containing glass particles called glass Ionomer. It is utilized in similar ways to the stuffing made of composite resin. The location and extent of the tooth decay, the price of the filling material, the patient’s insurance policy, and the recommendation of your dentist assist in determining what kind of filling is best for you.

CAST GOLD FILLINGS:

Advantages of gold-cast fillings include:

  1. Durability that lasts for about 10-15 years, generally longer, and without corrosion.
  2. Strength of the body that can withstand the chewing force
  3. Aesthetics: some patients prefer gold as it is more pleasing to the eye than amalgam silver.

Disadvantages of gold cast fillings include:

  1. Cost of expenditure – gold is more expensive than other materials and can be as much as ten times more expensive than amalgam fillings made of silver.
  2. Additional office visits are required with a minimum of two office visits just to set up.
  3. Galvanic shock – A gold filling that is placed close to a silver amalgam filling could result in an intensely painful sensation (galvanic shock) developing. The reaction between the metals and saliva creates an electric charge. It’s not a common occurrence, however.
  4. Aesthetics – most patients do not like the idea of metal colored fillings and prefer fillings that are matched to other parts of the teeth.

SILVER FILLINGS (AMALGAMS):

Benefits of silver fillings include:

  1. Durability – silver fillings last for 10-15 years and generally last longer than composite (tooth-colored) fillings.
  2. Strength – can withstand the force of chewing.
  3. Cost –  cost can be lower than composite fillings.

Disadvantages of silver fillings include:

  1. Unattractive aesthetics — silver fillings don’t look like the natural tooth color.
  2. Deterioration of the teeth’s structure — healthier portions of teeth need to be removed to create an area large enough to support the filling.
  3. Coloration- amalgam fillings may cause the tooth structures surrounding it to turn greyish.
  4. Cracks and fractures – although every natural tooth expands and contracts when it is in the presence of cold and hot liquids, it ultimately results in the fracturing or cracking of the amalgam material. Compared to other filling materials, amalgams could experience a greater extent of contraction and expansion and result in a greater rate of cracks or cracks.
  5. Allergic reactions – a tiny portion of people, around 1 percent, are prone to an allergic reaction to the mercury on amalgam restores. The amalgam emits low levels of mercury and can be inhaled and absorbed into the lung. A high level of mercury exposure can be linked to adverse effects on the kidneys and the brain. There is no evidence of a link between amalgam fillings and health issues, and the FDA is adamant that they are safe for children and adults aged six and over.

COMPOSITES WITH TOOTH COLOR:

The advantages of composites include:

  1. Aesthetics – the shade and color of the fillings made of the composite can be precisely matched to the hue of the teeth. Composites are best designed for use on the front teeth or in visible areas of teeth.
  2. Strength – the tooth’s composite fillings are micro-mechanically bonded to the tooth structure and provides additional strength.
  3. Preparation for tooth-sparing – often less tooth structure must be removed than amalgam fillings when cleaning decay and preparing the filling.

The disadvantages of composites include:

  1. Insufficient longevity – composite fillings are less durable than amalgam fillings (lasting at least five years, compared to at least 10 to 15 years for amalgams). Additionally, they are not likely to last longer than amalgam fillings if they are subjected to the stress of chewing, mainly when used to fill large cavities.
  2. They take a longer time to set due to the process of applying to the composite material, taking as long as 20 more minutes than amalgam fillings for placement.
  3. Additional visits – several office trips could be necessary if composites are being used for inlays or overlays.
  4. Chipping – the composite material may chip away at the tooth based on the location.
  5. Cost – composite fillings may cost more than twice the price of amalgam fillings.

In addition to the tooth-colored fillings using composite resin, two other tooth-colored fillings exist glass ionomer and ceramics.

DIFFERENT FILLING TYPES:

CERAMICS:

These filings are typically made of ceramic and are more resistant to staining than the composite material. This material usually lasts longer than 15 years. It can be as expensive as gold.

GLASS IONOMER:

These fillings are made from acrylic and a certain kind of glass material. It is commonly used to fill cavities under the gum line and fillings in children (drilling is still necessary). Ionomers of glass release fluoride, which protects your tooth against further damage.

However, the material is less durable than composite resin and is more prone to wear and tear. Glass ionomer typically lasts for five years or less, with costs like composite resin. The most recent ones are even longer-lasting and, when put in the correct areas, are comparable to composites.