Tooth filling is a dental procedure to restore a damaged or decayed tooth by removing the infected part and filling it with material that will last for years. The procedure involves eliminating the bacterial part of the tooth, cleaning the affected area and closing it that prevents the bacteria to enter and brings back the original shape of the tooth. Materials used to fill the decayed tooth are gold, mercury, silver, composite resin, copper, tin and zinc. What kind of material to be used totally depending on the extent of the repair and if the patient has any allergy to certain materials along with the cost of the treatment.
The dentist will first examine your teeth and then decides whether you require a filling or not. The procedure first requires the patient to be placed under local anesthesia to avoid pain and discomfort. The dentist will then make a cut on the decayed tooth using a drill or a laser and remove the infected area. Next, he/she will thoroughly examine the area, whether all the decay has been removed or not. Once removed, a proper place will be made to fill the material by cleaning the cavity of bacteria and debris. The filling material will then be placed from layer to layer. Each layer is hardened with a special light and when all the layering is complete, the dentist will provide the shape of the tooth to the composite material by trimming the excess material. At last, polishing is done for final restoration.
Types of filling material used
Gold filling: Certainly the most expensive one, this type of filling is made by order in the laboratory and may last for over 20 years. It is easily tolerated by the gums, but may require multiple visits.
Silver filling: Silver or Amalgam filling is relatively inexpensive and does not wear easily. However, due to its dark color, it is more noticeable and not usually applied in visible areas such as front teeth.
Composite resins: This type of filling is of the same color as the teeth and used for natural appearance. It is mixed and applied directly in the tooth, however, they tend to wear over time and may get stained from tea, coffee and tobacco.
Porcelain filling: Another expensive form of filling, which is made to order. It can be available in the same color as tooth and is also stain resistant.
Tooth filling, like any other dental procedure, has some minor complications, which can be reduced by choosing a highly experienced and trained dentist. Certain complications are:
Root canal requirement
Allergic reactions to material
Wear of filling
Development of cavity around the filling
Injury to the mouth
Damage to nearby teeth
Post operative care
You will need to follow to healthy oral hygiene and lifestyle instructions given by the dentist in order to maintain the fillings.
Follow every regular visits for brushing, cleaning and restoration, if needed.
Brush and floss twice a day to avoid decay build up.
Notify the doctor at once if you are feeling any pain or discomfort while chewing and eating.