Dental Tooth Filling


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Cavities and fillings are an almost inevitable part of life; most adults will have at least one tooth filling before they are thirty, and they can cause a great deal of pain as food touches nerve endings within your tooth.  As a result fillings are a daily part of dentists’ lives, and there are many options as to which materials to use and how best to protect teeth.  To reduce tooth sensitivity and stop the cavity from worsening, it is cleaned and the problematic hole is filled – a procedure known as a filling, used for most forms of tooth decay.  Fillings can also be used to improve your bite, helping you then to realign your jaw and masticate, chew your food, properly. 

Causes of Tooth Decay

Your tooth is made up of several layers the outermost is called the enamel. This outer layer is one of the hardest substances produced by your body. Beneath your gum line there is a layer of cementum, a substance which protects your teeth roots. The inner layer of your tooth is made up of dentin which has the harness of bone and houses your nerve endings. Further into the tooth is the dental pulp, a tissue comprised of blood vessels, nerve fibers and capillaries.  Amongst the most common symptoms of tooth decay is the enamel being lost. This often results in an increased sensitivity to hot or cold and in more severe cases, toothache. You can help protect against toothache by maintaining a good oral hygiene regime. Most dentists agree you should brush your teeth and floss at least twice a day and keeping sugary drinks and snacks to a minimum will also help. Make sure to visit your dentist twice yearly so that any potential problems can be spotted and prevented before they become serious.

The Filling Procedure

Normally your dentist will notice any problematic areas on your teeth throughout your regular check ups, and as a result of this it is important that you visit a dentist on a regular basis, about once a year.  If a cavity hasn’t been spotted throughout your check ups then it will become apparent as the pain increases and your tooth becomes more and more sensitive.  In this case you will have to arrange an emergency appointment. 

When the tooth has been identified then your dentist will want to fill it as soon as possible in order to prevent any further damage.  They will clean the cavity and remove any dead or decayed elements using drills or other techniques such as air abrasion

The tooth will be contained, and moisture from the area removed so that the filling can stick properly. An adhesive is placed to the affected area so that the filling will stick and stay in place, and then the composite filling is applied.  Sometimes a light source will be used to properly bond the agents together, and you will be left with a filled cavity.

Types of Fillings

Traditionally, fillings were made from an amalgam of metals including silver, tin, zinc, mercury and copper. Amalgam fillings are very sturdy and have a long life, upwards of seven years. Unfortunately, amalgam fillings will not match the colour of your tooth and often require healthy parts of the tooth to be removed to make room for the filling. One of the most popular types of filling currently used is composite fillings, created from a mixture of plastic and tiny glass particles. This type of filling also has a relatively long life, lasting upwards of five years. Composite fillings also have the advantage of matching your tooth natural colour. The downside is that composites tend to cost more and often take longer to place than their amalgam counterparts.  Tooth fillings made from gold, gold foil and glass ionomer are also available. 

Most people end up having a cavity in a tooth at some point in their lives and fillings are the most commonly used procedure for treating this. Tooth fillings a sort of dental restoration used primarily to fix slightly damaged teeth or other issues occurring due to tooth decay. However, they can also be used to treat a number of other problems such as evening out your tooths surface to correct your bite (occlusion) or to fix problems with chewing. Sometimes a filling won’t be able to rectify all of the damage imposed upon your tooth and you might have to have a dental crown or an implant to totally cut out any pain or sensitivity within your tooth.

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