Tooth filling is a dental procedure used to restore a decayed tooth. A dentist helps a patient to bring a tooth to the normal function and shape.
A patient needs to close the holes (open spaces), as bacteria may enter and bring to the inflammation of root canal, abscess formation and sometimes even bone loss. The decayed tooth causes a severe pain. If teeth become sensitive to the cold or hot foods and drinks, a patient should contact to the dentist. During a checkup, the dentist may detect any abnormalities on the tooth surface. The appropriate treatment will be chosen.
Firstly, the dentist takes X-Ray pictures to detect the depth of the injury. Then the area of the target tooth is numbed by local anesthetics. Antibacterial medications also may be used to prevent an infection. A dentist cleans and fills the cavity to protect the tooth from the subsequent injuries.
The dentist offers some type of filling materials and his or her recommendations will assist the patient in determining the best option. Depends on the location of injured tooth, cost of fillings, and the insurance coverage, the patient may choose one of the following materials:
- Gold fillings. This is a very durable and lasting material that can be used at least 10 to 15 years. Some patients prefer the aesthetic properties of gold more than “white-colored” fillings. However, this option does not suit everyone, because it costs too much, when compared with other materials. Besides, the procedure requires more than one visit. Galvanic shock is very rare but serious complication, which may cause a sharp pain and brings to the shock.
- Silver fillings or Amalgams. This material is also very durable and lasting (10 to 15 years). The cost is not expensive compared to others. Many people don’t like the color, which doesn’t match to the natural teeth. Also the fillings bring to the discoloration of healthy teeth. The dentist must remove healthy parts of tooth to make space for the silver fillings. Because of the structure the silver expands and contracts more that brings to the cracks and fractures. It also contains mercury that is allergic for 1 percent of people.
- Tooth-colored resin composites. As it becomes clear from the name the advantage of this filling is a color, which is matched to the natural teeth. The dentist offers this material to the patients with visible decayed teeth and uses it to repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth. Compared with gold and amalgam fillings, composites have poor durability characteristics. A patient has to visit a dentist at least two times and each visit lasts longer than usual.
- Other tooth-colored composites like ceramics and glass ionomer may be used.
- Porcelain fillings are produced in the laboratories and then bonded to the tooth.
After the dentist fills the teeth and restores the cavity, the lips and gums remain numb for a few hours. A patient should be careful during eating or speaking, because he or she can damage the tongue, cheeks and lips without feeling it.
Tooth filling is a save procedure, and almost no risks exists.