A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. When a dentist gives you a filling, he or she first removes the decayed tooth material, cleans the affected area and then fills the cleaned cavity with a filling material.
Filling helps prevent further decay by closing off spaces where bacteria can enter. There are a number of options available to restore the teeth include Silver Amalgam, Composite Resin (tooth-colored fillings) and Glass Ionomer.
Which Type Of Filling Is Best?
No one type of filling is best for everyone. What’s right for you will be determined by the extent of the repair, whether you have allergies to certain materials, where in your mouth the filling is needed and the affordability of the patient.
Considerations For Different Materials Include:
Silver Amalgam fillings are resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive. However, due to their dark color, they are more noticeable than composite restorations and are not usually used in very visible areas, such as front teeth. Silver Amalgam is a time tested filling material.
Composite (plastic) resins are matched to be the same color as your teeth and therefore used where a natural appearance is desired. The ingredients are mixed and placed directly into the cavity, where they harden. Composites may not be the ideal material for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time. They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco and do not last as long as other types of fillings generally from three to 10 years. Composite Resin restorations are the first choice of restorative material in aesthetic zone of your mouth.
Glass Ionomer filling are tooth colored filling material with a limited choice of shade matching with tooth. They are semi aesthetic fillings. Glass Ionomer fillings are the first choice of filling material when a tooth with cavity is later going to receive a crown on it after filling. Glass Ionomer fillings are also first choice in deciduous or milk teeth, in pediatric patients.
If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown or cap may be recommended.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tooth Filling And Their Answers
What happens when you get a filling?
If your dentist decides to fill a cavity, he or she will first remove the decay and clean the affected area. The cleaned-out cavity will then be filled with any of the variety of restorative materials.
How do I know if I need a filling?
Only your dentist can detect whether you have a cavity that needs to be filled. During a checkup, your dentist will use a small mirror to examine the surfaces of each tooth. Anything that looks abnormal will then be closely checked with special instruments. Your dentist may also X-ray your entire mouth or a section of it. The type of treatment your dentist chooses will depend on the extent of damage caused by decay.
How long do dental fillings last?
Assuming that your surrounding tooth remains healthy and the filling itself is not large, you can expect your filling to last for years, even decades: Silver amalgam fillings can last from 10 to 15 years before they need to be replaced. Composite fillings can last from 5 to 10 years.
Are dental fillings painful?
During a filling you are unlikely to feel a thing. A filling does not happen in areas of the tooth where there are nerves.
Can I eat after a filling?
Metal dental fillings do not harden immediately and often dentists will recommend waiting at least 24 hours following the dental filling before eating any solid foods. However, Composite resin filling are hardened immediately by a special curing light. This hardening will allow you to eat and drink immediately after the procedure.
What happens if you don’t get a filling?
Left untreated, it’s possible for a cavity to eventually reach your nerve, which would put you in some serious pain. Once a cavity reaches pulp or a root, it will necessitate a much large procedure, such as a root canal or an extraction. Both of those procedures are much more involved than your everyday cavity filling.
Do all cavities need fillings?
A dental filling is needed if you are in pain or you have an obvious cavity. However, if there is an early sign of decay but no cavity or pain felt, a dental filling is not necessary as the tooth can easily fix itself. Your dentist will recommend right treatment according to the extent of the decay.
Following is a guide to what you should expect and what care or precautions you should take after tooth filling or restoration is done on you:
What You Should Expect
- It is common to feel mild sensitivity to hot and cold for a few days. If sensitivity to hot and cold persists for more than 3 days, please contact us.
- You may feel that your bite is uneven and there is something on biting surface of your teeth while chewing. If this feeling does not go away within 1 day please contact us immediately as you might have high points which may require little adjustment to give you maximum comfort while chewing.
- Fillings do not last forever. Regular dental checkups are essential to determine the integrity of filled or restored tooth and also for maintenance of general oral health.
- In some cases where you have received a very deep filling, you might feel mild pain, especially while chewing. The pain should go away in 1-3 days. If pain persists for more than 3 days, please contact us to determine cause of pain.
- If you have severe pain after receiving feeling, please contact us immediately.
- If the procedure was done under local anesthesia, you may feel numbness for 3-4 hours in certain parts of your mouth and face. If numbness persists for more than 12 hours, please contact us.
What Care Or Precautions You Should Take
- Do not eat or drink anything for 1 hour.
- Do not rinse you mouth with water, mouthwash or any other liquid for 1 hour.
- If you have received a Glass Ionomer Cement or Silver Amalgam filling, avoid chewing from that side for 24 hours.
- Do not chew Pan or Gutkha with your restored tooth.
- If you have received filling in your front tooth, avoid biting with front tooth. Example: Avoid taking bite from apple with you front tooth. Apple should be cut into pieces and eaten with back teeth.
- If anesthesia was given in lower jaw than please avoid eating anything until the anesthesia wears off and the numbness is gone.
- If you have been prescribed any medication, take it regularly according to prescription and do not alter the schedule or duration of medication without consulting your dentist.
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