From the category archives:

Tooth Filling

Dental Fillings

by admin on September 29, 2008

What is a Tooth Filling (Restoration)?

A Tooth Filling (or a restoration) is a Dental Procedure you have to go through while undergoing treatment for Tooth Decay. It mainly involves removal of the decayed part of the tooth and filling the subsequent void with a Dental Filling material.

Tooth fillings are also used in cases of fractured or chipped teeth and even in some instances of worn teeth (resulting from tooth grinding and nail biting)

Filling Procedure

Employment of a Local Anesthetic to numb the area to be worked up on (This basically results in the loss of pain sensation which lets you sit comfortably during the procedure)

A drill is used to remove the decayed part of the tooth (Although modern advances in dentistry have lead to the possible employment of Lasers instead of the drill)

The cavity formed after the drilling is cleaned of the debris and bacteria.

A lining layer of a suitable material may be added to the floor of the cavity surface to protect the pulp in cases of deep cavities.

Now, if composite is being used as the filling material

The composite resin (which resembles natural tooth color) is added in small layers. After addition of each layer, a special light is projected on it which helps in hardening of the composite resin ( A process known as Curing).

After the filling, the dentist would give finishing touches such as shaping, polishing and removal of any excess material.

Types of Filling Materials

You will be confronted with plenty of choices when looking for a suitable Tooth filling material: each with its own sets of advantages and disadvantages. The choice of the tooth filling material depends on the location (front/back etc), type of cavity and what you expect from a filling(Durability/Aesthetics).

The mainly used tooth filling materials are:

  1. Cast gold: It’s durable and possesses good strength but is expensive and might look unappealing to the patient (as the gold color stands out and looks unaesthetic among the other natural teeth)
  2. Silver Amalgam Filling: It is also durable and has good strength which can withstand masticatory forces but it is unaesthetic, can discolor surrounding tooth structure, can cause cracks in the tooth and also possible allergic reactions.
  3. Composites (Tooth Colored): Composites are presently used widely as a tooth filling material mainly because of its appealing aesthetics. A composite whose color matches specifically to your teeth isn’t hard to find. They also bond well with the tooth structure. However, they are not durable, can chip and stain easily and not are costly when compared to amalgam fillings.

Other filling Materials: Other filling materials such as porcelain and GlC (Glass Ionomer Cement) are also used.

What are Indirect Fillings?

Indirect Fillings are employed in cases of deficient remaining tooth structure (which can’t support the conventional filling). Its procedure will be differing from the conventional filling. The indirect restoration is prepared in the laboratory after taking an impression from the patient’s mouth. This is fitted on the patient’s next appointment after making sure it fits correctly and comfortably in the patient’s mouth. Inlays and Onlays are the two different types of Indirect Fillings.

Possible Problems with Dental Fillings

Pain and Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is common following a filling procedure. It isn’t a matter of concern as long as it subsides within 2-4 weeks or it isn’t causing extreme sensitivity failing which you should see your dentist.

Other problems such as pain during bite, toothache type pain, referred pain could possibly indicate a problem with the filling which needs to be rectified. Hence, it’s best to consult your dentist.

Allergic Reaction

Around 1% of the people are allergic to Amalgam fillings. The allergy could be due to mercury itself or any metal present in the restoration. The symptoms of tooth filling allergic reaction resemble skin allergy causing itching and rashes.

Long Term Problems

Wearing or Cracking of the filling can occur due to constant pressure from excessive grinding, clenching or masticatory forces.

Tooth Fillings which fall out are due to fracturing or decay of the remaining tooth structure.

Newly placed Restorations can also fall out indicating a defect in the Restoration procedure or excessive force applied during mastication.


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