WHAT IS DENTAL FILLING?
Irregular brushing habits, inadequate oral care, a history of diabetes, and/or frequent excessive consumption of carbohydrates and highly acidic foods and beverages are a few of the factors that may lead to progressive structural damage in teeth.
Irregular brushing habits may allow for the development of bacterial byproducts, and allowed to accumulate in and between teeth, these bacterial products eventually cause damage to the dental structures.
As the amount of present bacteria increases, so does the potential damage inflicted.
Dental sensitivity and pain are signs that structural dental damage has occurred and may be followed by a weakening of functional abilities.
Extensive dental decay, hypersensitivity, throbbing dental pain and dental fractures are a few of the complications that may follow. Tooth loss is another significant consequence further down the line.
The materials used in dental fillings are determined by the patients needs together with the dentists requirements. Each type of filling may have its advantages and disadvantages.
Dental filling materials;
- Amalgam (alloy of silver, mercury, tin, zinc and copper)
- Composite resin (tooth-coloured filling) (white filling)
Who should receive dental fillings?
A need for dental fillings can only be determined by your dentist upon dental examination.
Your dentist may check;
- Evident dental cavities
- Dental surface discolorations
- Dental caries detecting agent reactions
- Dental radiographs
Dental radiographs can clearly indicate the presence of dental caries and, if present, deeper infections. They may be inadequate in determining more recent, smaller sized decay. Radiographs, in some instances, may also help locate fractures or cracks.
How are dental fillings applied?
Dental fillings are applied to restore decayed, fractured or otherwise damaged teeth. In cases without unmanagable excessive pain root canal treatments are not necessary.
Tooth filling materials range from gold and porcelain to amalgam and composite resins. Your dentist will determine the most suitable dental material for your situation.
The dental decay and damaged portion of the tooth is first removed. The tooth is then further prepared for the application of the filling. After the selection of a suitable filling material the filling is applied to restore and rebuild the missing part of the tooth.
What to watch out for after receiving dental fillings?
Provided they are taken care of and complemented with routine dental care, dental fillings prove very successful in the long-term.
- If dental local anesthetic is applied during the filling procedure, care must be taken until the numbness has subsided. Refraining from eating for 3 hours to avoid any problems is advised.
- For the first week following treatment it is best to avoid extremely hot or cold foods and beverages as there may occur some sensitivity associated with the filled tooth.
- It is normal to feel temporary mild pain after treatment. You may be prescribed pain-relief medication if deemed necessary. Make sure to consult your dentist/medical doctor beforehand.
- As much as possible, at least for a short period following treatment, avoid eating and chewing with the side filled.
- If the pain is persistent and severe make sure to inform your dentist. Don’t overuse analgesic medication in this case, especially without consulting your doctor. Persistent pain may indicate the need for a root canal treatment.
- Simpler filling cases may not warrant the use of local anesthetic. Although eating is normally not restricted after treatment it will prove beneficial to be cautious.
- Keep in mind that fillings require the same, if not more, dental care. A routine dental care program must be implemented at home, and complemented by routine dental check-ups.
- Esthetic restorations applied to your front teeth require special attention. Avoid biting into solid foods with your front teeth and refrain from coloured foods and drinks (tea, coffee, cigarettes).
- It normally takes some time to accommodate to a new filling. If even after a few weeks you are having problems with your filling make sure to contact your dentist. Small adjustments may be necessary without the use of local anesthetics.
- Inform your dentist if you have clenching or grinding habits as these habits tend to be especially harmful on fillings, causing cracks or fractures.
- It is best to avoid exposure to hot steam during the immediate post-treatment phase. Avoid Turkish baths or saunas for at least a few weeks.
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