Dental fillings can be used for a variety of dental issues. For starters, dentists will often use dental fillings to fix problems with damaged and decaying teeth. Fillings are also a good repair tool for minor tooth fractures, and they can alleviate some of the sensitivity that happens when decay starts to penetrate the enamel of the teeth. The type of material used for fillings can also vary: from metals to tooth-coloured resins.
The need for a filling (or some other type of dental treatment) is often discovered while a patient is getting their teeth cleaned or having a regular checkup. Upon discovery of possible decay, the dentist will confirm the discovery with further examination of the problematic area and by taking X-rays and using high magnification with illumination.
The dental plan will be a comprehensive plan based on the dentist’s recommendations for effective treatment. During the treatment plan consultation, patients are given a chance to share any concerns they may have. Patients are always given a chance to reflect on their options and if needed a second consultation can be arranged to discuss the treatment again.
Pain-Free Treatment Guaranteed
Patients frequently have questions about experiencing any pain or irritation while undergoing the placement of a filling. That’s why we guarantee that the treated area will be completely numb prior to any treatment. Both topical and local anaesthesia is used to ensure the success of having a numb treatment area. We also will discuss what “stop” symbol to use (like raising one’s hand) to alert us that the treatment needs to stop.
For patients with treatment-related anxieties, there are other solutions provided to keep you comfortable such as sedation, which helps foster a more peaceful environment for you.
How Fillings are Performed
The following steps comprise the process of getting a tooth filling:
- Sedation is given if the patient has a severe treatment anxiety.
- Local anaesthesia is given to numb the area to be treated.
- Preparation of the tooth cavity and to ensure the area is bacteria free.
- Inserting the filling material into the cleared space of the tooth.
- Sculpting the filling material to ensure natural form and function.
- Polishing and smoothing the filling to make sure the surface of the tooth is smooth.
- Deep fillings may require a follow-up appointment to make sure no pain is present.
Types of Fillings
The filling chosen for a patient’s treatment will be determined by how much damage (and what type of damage) has happened to the tooth. The following is a list of the various types of filling available:
Amalgam fillings are the most affordable fillings available. They are durable and are made of a blend of metals (including mercury) that can last many years. However, amalgam fillings are often considered unattractive to look at because they are silver in colour and are easily seen when people open their mouths. Amalgam will discolour its tooth and due to it being so much harder than natural tooth, it eventually causes the tooth to fracture. Amalgam has no chemical bond to the natural tooth structure is again this has a negative impact on the tooth long term. We do however still prefer to use amalgam in some molar teeth that have been root canal treated.
Composite Resin Fillings
Composite resin fillings offer a lot of advantages over amalgam fillings because they can be coloured to match the colour of the patient’s teeth. These types of fillings chemically bond to the teeth and are great for strengthening weak teeth that have fractured, decayed in some areas or worn down. They are very conservative compared to amalgam fillings as they require less natural tooth structure to be removed. Composite resins have similar properties to natural enamel and dentine so are a more biocompatible material and benefit from being metal free.
Resin Modified Glass Ionomer (RMGI) Fillings
These fillings are great to use in difficult to access areas or in patients where moisture control is challenging such as children. They are metal free and have a chemical bond to the natural tooth, although not as strong as composite resin. They work very well for a patient with deep cavities as the material can help settle irritated tooth nerves and can help remineralise weakened tooth structure.