Can I change my Tooth Fillings?

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Dental fillings are a type of restoration which are used to replenish tooth structure which has been lost due to tooth decay. As well as helping to fix lightly damaged teeth, you can also use fillings for a range of other dental problems including correcting problems with bite (occlusion) by evening out the tooths surface. Tooth decay often causes tooth sensitivity as the enamel is gradually lost, once the filling is in place you should find any sensitivity has been significantly reduced if not completely vanished.

The filling procedure involves cleaning and preparing the affected tooth by removing all remaining traces of decay. Once your dentist is confident the teeth is free of food debris and decay, the tooth is isolated and adhesives are applied to the target zone before the filling material is placed and bonded using a specialised light source.

Modern fillings are usually made from an amalgam of metals or a composite resin. Although the composite filling tends to be more expensive, it provides much better aesthetics as it can be coloured to match the shade of your natural teeth. Fillings have a long life with amalgam fillings lasting around 12 years and composites lasting around seven years. Eventually, you will need to replace your fillings as the day to day wear of eating and drinking will inevitably cause them to weaken.

Your dentist will probably notice a cracked or worn filling during one of your regular check ups. In some cases, X-ray photographs may be required to check for signs of decay underneath the existing filling or in other problem places which are hard to see with the naked eye. Fortunately, there are more options for dental fillings than ever before and materials are constantly being developed to better mimic the look of your natural teeth. In fact, some people are so keen to get rid of their amalgam fillings; they schedule a replacement composite long before their original filling has worn out, so that they can reap the aesthetic benefits.

Read more in the Dental Treatment Information Guide »