You may require a dental filling if you have a hole or cavity in your tooth or if your tooth is broken or damaged. Tooth cavities are pretty common, both in children and adults. If not addressed timely, it can lead to tooth decay and cause several oral health problems.
To counter the problem of tooth cavities, dentists use fillings that help repair and fix tooth decay.
What are The Signs of A Possible Cavity?
Some of the most common warning signs that indicate a possible cavity include:
- teeth sensitivity to cold or hot drinks and foods
- sensitivity to sweet, sugary foods and drinks
- a stain (white or darker colour) in the tooth
- ongoing pain in the tooth
- a visible pit or hole in the tooth
Let us Look at The Types of Fillings
Before you decide to get the dental filling done, your dentist will tell you about the different filling materials available. Here are some of the most commonly used filling materials:
This filling is made with a mix of gold, copper, and other metals. It is pretty durable but expensive. Usually, it is made in the lab after the dentist takes the impression of your tooth. Also, it is not naturally looking.
This filling is a combination of silver, mercury, tin, and copper. The material of this filling has more strength than tooth-colour fillings. It is usually more economical than other materials.
This natural-looking filling is as expensive as gold fillings. It is made in the lab after the dentist takes the impression of your tooth.
White Tooth-Colour Fillings (Composites):
This durable filling is a mix of acrylic resin and glass or quartz particles. The material costs a little more than metal braces amalgams.
Glass Ionomer Fillings:
This tooth-coloured filling is firm but not as strong as composites. It is made of acrylic and a type of glass containing fluoride that helps in preventing cavities. This filling is more costly than amalgams. It is preferred for children’s teeth.
How Much Time does it Take to Get a Filling?
Usually, a filling takes up to an hour, and at times, less. For instance, a simple filling may be done in around 20 minutes, while more prominent or multiple fillings may take longer. It also depends on the material used for the tooth filling. In some cases, you may require a second visit to your dentist.
- Composite resin material that is layered into the tooth takes more time. However, it is completed in a single visit.
- Composite fillings that are made from the impression require a second visit to bond the filling. Hence, it takes time.
- Porcelain or Gold fillings, also known as onlays or inlays, generally cannot be done in one sitting. On the first visit, the cavity is removed, tooth impression is taken, which is sent to the lab to fabricate the filling. On the second visit, the filling is bonded to your tooth.
Replacing an old filling takes around the same amount of time as the new filling or a little longer if the old filling material needs to be drilled out. In such cases, the old filling material and cavity are properly cleaned out, and new filling material is filled.
For How Long do The Fillings Last?
The life of the filling depends on your dental hygiene to a greater extent. Following good dental practices and precautions can increase the life of your fillings. This will also prevent the formation of a new cavity on your tooth.
The life of your tooth filling is equally dependent on the filling material. Considering everyone’s lifestyle and teeth are different, the timeframe can differ from person to person. Here is the average lifespan of different types of fillings:
- Composite fillings: 5 to 15 years
- Gold fillings: 15 to 20 years
- Silver-colour fillings: 5 to 25 years
Let us Look at The Filling Process
Generally, a filling is a simple procedure. However, it requires an experienced and professional dentist who can do the job well without taking much time. To begin with, the dentist will examine your mouth to check for the cavity using dental instruments. For a better visibility, the dentist may prefer to get the tooth/teeth x-ray done to look at the severity of the tooth cavities.
Depending on the case, the dentist may prefer a local anaesthetic to numb the tooth area to avoid any pain. However, you may not need an anaesthetic if your tooth requires filling just on the surface. Once the tooth area is numb, the dentist may most likely use a dental drill to drill the tooth enamel to remove the decay. Many dentists these days also use laser tools for the purpose, but these are not that common.
Before filling the hole, the dentist will prepare the area by sterilising it properly. Some fillings are hardened or cured using a blue wavelength light. The dentist will polish and check your tooth to ensure your bite is proper. After the numbness normalises, you may feel minor sensitivity around your tooth that has been filled. The dentist may advise you to avoid consuming very cold or very hot food and drinks for one or two days as a precaution. Otherwise, you can follow your regular eating pattern.
Getting the tooth cavity treated as soon as possible is recommended to prevent further damage or the cavity from getting worse. If not treated on time, you may suffer from various problems, such as infection, fracture, bad breath, and the worst – the loss of your tooth.
If you want to consult a trusted and reliable dentist for dental filling treatment, you can contact Complete Smiles, a well-established and reputed practice with highly qualified and experienced dentists. They offer high-end dentistry under one roof at affordable prices. For any questions or queries related to tooth fillings, you should contact us today!