Dental fillings are a common dental treatment used to repair and restore damaged teeth caused by tooth decay, fractures, or other dental issues. They are designed to fill the cavities or gaps in teeth caused by these conditions, restoring their shape, function, and strength.
The primary purpose of dental fillings is to prevent further decay or damage to decayed teeth. By filling the cavity or gap, fillings create a smooth and durable surface that helps to restore the tooth's integrity and protect it from further deterioration. At our dental clinic in Perth, we believe that tooth fillings are vital to restorative dentistry, helping preserve and maintain a damaged tooth's health, functionality, and appearance.
A dental filling is an essential solution for addressing common dental issues that have compromised the health and integrity of your teeth.
Tooth decay is a prevalent dental issue caused by decay-causing bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria produce acids that gradually erode the protective outer layer of the tooth, known as enamel. This erosion leads to cavities or holes in the tooth structure, increasing the risk of further decay.
When it comes to addressing tooth decay, dental fillings play a crucial role. The decayed portion of the tooth is carefully removed, and a suitable dental filling material is used to fill the resulting cavity. By filling the cavity, the dental filling restores the natural structure of the tooth, preventing the progression of decay and providing protection against additional damage.
Teeth can become cracked or fractured due to trauma, accidents, or biting down on hard objects. Dental fillings repair these cracks and fractures, restoring the tooth’s function and preventing further damage.
Dental fillings, such as composite resin, can be used for cosmetic purposes to reshape or resize teeth, correcting minor imperfections such as gaps, chips, or uneven surfaces.
When considering the best filling material for your specific dental needs, it is essential to consult with your Acts Dental dentist. They can evaluate factors such as the location and extent of the restoration, aesthetic preferences, durability requirements, and budget considerations to determine the most suitable dental filling materials for you.
Dental amalgam fillings, also known as silver fillings or dental amalgams, have been used for decades as a reliable and durable filling material. They are composed of a mixture of metals, including silver, mercury, tin, and copper. An amalgam filling is known for its strength and longevity, making it a popular choice for restoring teeth in areas with high chewing pressure, such as the back teeth.
Dental amalgam fillings are less expensive but more durable than composite resin and will last longer, perhaps up to 15 years. Because silver amalgam filling is made of metallic elements and has a dark colour, they are quite noticeable while eating, laughing, or smiling.
While dental amalgam fillings have served the dental community well for many years, other alternatives are being used in dentistry today. This shift is largely due to concerns raised by some individuals about the safety of amalgam fillings. The presence of mercury in dental amalgam has been a point of concern for those who fear potential negative health implications. Consequently, various alternative filling materials are now being used, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. However, the FDA does not recommend people remove or replace amalgam fillings in good condition, as the removal process can increase exposure to mercury vapour and damage the healthy tooth structure.
Composite fillings, often called tooth-coloured fillings, have gained popularity due to their natural appearance and versatility. They are made of a mixture of plastic and fine glass particles, allowing them to blend seamlessly with other teeth. Composite fillings preserve more natural tooth structure compared to other types of fillings.
One of the advantages of composite fillings is that they require the removal of less healthy tooth structures during placement.
Because of their natural-looking feature and preservation of tooth structure, composite fillings can be a better substitute for amalgam fillings in many cases.
While these tooth-coloured fillings may not be suitable for deep fillings that require more extensive support and may not be as durable, they are a more aesthetically pleasing alternative, making them a popular choice for fillings in the front teeth or other visible areas.
Ceramic or porcelain fillings are custom-made restorations fabricated in a dental laboratory. They offer excellent aesthetics and can be matched to the colour of natural teeth. Ceramic or porcelain filling can resist staining and provide a durable, long-lasting solution for restoring teeth with moderate to severe damage. They can withstand normal biting forces and are suitable for both back and front teeth.
Glass ionomer is one of the tooth-coloured fillings made of acrylic and glass powders. They release fluoride, which helps prevent further tooth decay. Glass ionomer fillings are commonly used in areas of low to moderate chewing pressure, such as root surfaces or children’s teeth. They are not as durable as other filling materials. Still, they can be a suitable option in specific situations.
Glass ionomer fillings are not as durable as some other filling materials and may be more prone to wear and fracture.
Gold fillings are composed of a gold alloy. They are highly durable and biocompatible, making them an excellent choice for posterior restorations. Gold filling is known for its longevity and wear resistance, making it a preferred option for patients with a heavy bite or those seeking a long-lasting restoration. Many people like the appearance of gold fillings better than silver fillings.
The procedure is typically straightforward.
Local anaesthetic and numbing: Before the filling procedure begins, the dentist will administer a local anaesthetic to numb the area around the damaged tooth.
Removal of decayed tooth material: Using a dental drill or a laser, the dentist will carefully remove the decayed portion of the tooth.
Application and shaping of the filling material: Once the tooth is prepared, the dentist will apply the chosen filling material in layers. A bonding agent is first applied for composite resin fillings to help the filling material adhere to the tooth. The dentist will mould the filling material to achieve the desired contour and fit within the tooth.
Finishing touches and bite adjustment: After placing the filling material, the dentist will make any necessary adjustments to ensure a comfortable bite. That may involve trimming or polishing the filling to align properly with the opposing teeth. The bite will be checked to ensure it feels natural and doesn’t cause discomfort.
It’s essential to follow any post-treatment instructions provided by your dentist to promote healing and maintain the longevity of the filling.
Proper care and maintenance of dental fillings are essential to ensure their longevity and the overall health of your teeth. Here are key points to consider:
Good Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to remove plaque and food particles contributing to decay and damage around the filling.
Regular Dental Check-Ups: Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and examinations. Regular check-ups allow your dentist to monitor the condition of your fillings and identify any signs of deterioration or additional dental issues.
Avoid Excessive Force: Avoid biting down on hard objects, such as ice or pens, as this can cause damage to the filling and your natural tooth structure.
Be Mindful of Food Choices: Some sticky or hard foods can put extra pressure on the fillings. It’s best to avoid excessive consumption of such foods to prevent any potential damage.
Local anaesthesia is administered to numb the area during tooth filling, ensuring a painless experience. However, it’s common to experience some sensitivity or discomfort after the anaesthesia wears off. This sensitivity usually subsides within a few days. If you experience persistent sharp pain or discomfort, you should contact your dentist immediately for further evaluation because you may need to have your filling reshaped.
Yes, fillings can be replaced or repaired if they become damaged or worn or if additional decay develops around them. Regular dental check-ups allow your dentist to assess the condition of your fillings and recommend any necessary repairs or replacements to maintain the health of your teeth.
The lifespan of fillings depends on various factors, including the type of filling material used, oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and individual factors. Dental fillings can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years or more on average.
A temporary filling is a temporary restoration used to protect a weakened tooth until a permanent filling can be placed. A temporary dental filling is typically made of a soft material that provides short-term coverage and seals the damaged teeth, preventing further damage or sensitivity.
The Australian Dental Association promotes the importance of a healthy smile as a critical aspect of overall oral health and general well-being. The Australian Dental Association emphasises that a healthy smile encompasses more than having clean and attractive teeth. It includes maintaining healthy gums, having proper oral hygiene practices, and seeking regular dental check-ups.
Committed to excellence and patient satisfaction, Acts Dental proudly offers various services, including general dentistry, wisdom teeth extractions, and cosmetic dentistry all conveniently covered by major insurance providers.
We are Bupa members platinum dental provider, Medibank members choice provider, HBF members plus provider, HCF more for teeth preferred provider, and Nib first choice provider in Perth ensuring that dental care is accessible and affordable.
Schedule an appointment at Acts Dental today by calling us at (08) 9474 5083.