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Everything You Need to Know About Dental Fillings

July 26, 2023

Everything You Need to Know About Dental Fillings - Types of Dental Fillings

Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems and getting a filling done is one of the most common dental procedures. When a tooth is damaged by decay, a filling can restore the tooth to its normal state and appearance. Additionally, by closing up the space, a filling protects against further decay and limits the ways by which bacteria can enter. Fillings may be made from different materials and be of different types. Understanding the hows and whys of dental fillings will help you ask your dentist the right questions and feel more comfortable about the procedure.

The Different Types of Dental Fillings

Various materials may be used for fillings, including the following:

  • Gold fillings are made in the laboratory and sent to the dentist (who gave the desired specifications)so that they may be cemented into place. Gold is one of the most popular materials for fillings as it is long-lasting and well-tolerated by gum tissue. The downside of gold fillings is the cost.
  • Similar to gold fillings, porcelain fillings too are made in the laboratory. They are also known as onlays or inlays. They can be made to match the color of the natural teeth and are resistant to staining. The cost of these fillings is similar to the cost of gold ones.
  • Silver fillings, also known as amalgam fillings, are less costly and very resistant to wear. They are darker in color than natural teeth and so are not normally used for the visible front teeth. Instead, they are usually used for teeth at the back of the mouth.
  • Composite or plastic resins can be matched to the color of the existing teeth and are made by the dentist herself. The ingredients that make up the composite material are mixed in the dentist's office and then placed directly into the previously cleaned cavity where they harden. These are slightly more delicate than other materials and are normally used where a natural appearance is desired and not for large fillings where the chances of chipping are greater.

Also Read: 5 Benefits of Having a Family Dentist

How a Dental Filling is Done?

  • The dentist will numb the area where the filling is to be done.
  • Special instruments are used to clean the decayed area.
  • The dentist will check if all the decay has been removed and once she is sure, she will clean out any bacteria and debris.
  • If the decay is near the root, a liner may be put in place first to protect the nerve.
  • The filling is then put into place.
  • Finishing and polishing are done.
  • Depending on the type of filling, some additional steps such as using special light to harden or "cure" the filling material may be required.
  • Once the procedure is completed, you can leave the dentist's office.

Also Read: Pediatric Dental Problems 101 - What Parents Need to Know

Care and Maintenance of Dental Fillings

The purpose of the filling is to replace the damaged portion of a tooth to allow for normal function. Usually, no special care is required for the filling. However, normal oral hygiene must be maintained. In addition:

  • You should visit your dentist at the intervals she advises for cleaning. This is normally part of the recommended 6 monthly dental checkups.
  • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  • Floss regularly.
  • The dentist will tell you about any special precautions you may need to take.

Once a filling is in place, you will not have any further problems with that tooth. Your dentist is the best source of reliable information on whether a filling is required or another procedure may be better. If a filling is advised, the dentist will tell you what type of filling is best for you.


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