During the treatment of cavities, dentists will get rid of the decayed part in a tooth, and then they will fill the cavity where the decayed debris was removed.
Dental fillings, also known as dental restorations, is a restorative procedure performed by a dentist to restore the integrity, morphology, and functionality of a missing tooth/teeth structure. The structure can be missing due to various causes, such as external trauma or dental caries. There are two categories of dental fillings that are classified further by the size and location of the filling, that is, a direct filling and an indirect filling. In this article, direct fillings will be discussed.
Two steps must be followed when restoring the function and proper form of a tooth. The first step will involve preparing it for the placement of the restorative materials, and the second is the actual placement of those restorative materials.
During the preparation process, the tooth is cut with the aid of a dental handpiece that rotates and a dental burr. A type of dental laser can also be used to create space that the dentist will use to remove all the decayed portions of the patient’s tooth or those portions that seem to be structurally unsound.
The cavity is then thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, and all the debris is removed. What follows next is the placement of the filling materials and the sealing. Sealing closes off the spaces where oral bacteria can penetrate while the filling prevents the occurrence of further decay.
When preparing for tooth restoration, there a several factors that are put into considerations, and they will also determine the extent and the type of preparation to be carried out. Tooth decay is one of such factors, and its extensiveness will define the appropriate materials and the method for restoration.
The strength of a tooth structure is also another factor that’s considered. Weak tooth structures, for example, an unsupported enamel, has to be removed to facilitate a more predictable restoration. Although the enamel holds the title for being the hardest material in a human body, it is brittle, and if the enamel is not well supported, it fractures easily.
Research has shown that silver amalgam has been used by dentists for over 150 years. These fillings exist as a mixture of several metallic elements. Silver, zinc, tin, copper, and mercury are examples of such metallic elements.
When compared to the other varieties of fillings, they were found to be more durable, less pricey, and very strong. Mercury makes about 50% of the amalgam. Although the FDA guarantees that the mercury levels are not a risk, the treatment is only recommended to persons who are past six years of age.
Ceramic fillings are tooth-colored fillings that are made out of porcelain material. It has a life span of about 15 years, and it has stain-resisting properties.
Composite fillings are made of acrylic resin and powdered glass, and it has several advantages over a silver amalgam filling. These types of fillings are gaining more popularity because they are known to give their users a natural-looking smile. This is because the fillings can get shaded to match with the color of one’s existing teeth, making them less visible.
Nonetheless, this filling has its disadvantages, and sometimes it isn’t the best choice. The reason being the materials used in its making are less durable than those used in amalgam. Thus, the filling is best suited in areas where teeth are subjected to moderate pressure when grinding and chewing.
If you are considering to go to your dentist for teeth fillings, gold is one material that you’d want to make a filling out of. This is because of their long-lasting option and durability. The ADA also noted that under proper care, they could last for a decade or two. However, it comes with a hefty price to pay for, and its one of the costliest fillings to get.
Glass ionomer dental fillings are commonly used by kids who have teeth that are still growing. They are designed to protect teeth from dental caries by releasing fluoride. One downside of traditional glass ionomers is they do not match with the color of one’s teeth as compared to composite resin. It is also less durable, and they can easily fracture.