What is a tooth filling and do I need one?

A tooth filling can be used to repair a cracked, broken or worn-down tooth.  It is also used to repair cavities, which often involve the removal of the decayed portion of a tooth.  The space is then filled with a composite resin filling, silver amalgam, gold or porcelain.

A dental filling is essential because it will give the tooth strength and ensure the decay does not worsen or spread.  Once the hole has been sealed off, bacteria can no longer get inside your tooth, which means the decay will stop.  However, the longer you put it off because you’ve heard horrendous stores of tooth filling pain, the worse off your teeth will be and the more pain you will experience.  Catching a cavity early will save you a lot of pain and frustration.

Do I Need a Tooth Filling?

If you have cavities, you will probably need a tooth filling.  As previously mentioned, fillings for teeth can be used to repair teeth that have been broken, cracked or severely worn down, however, the only way for us to tell you if you need a filling is after a consultation.

How Does the Tooth Filling Procedure Work?

First, we will numb the area around the tooth that needs to be filled.  We will remove the decayed portion of the tooth using a laser, a drill or an air abrasion instrument.  By this point you are already completely numb and will not feel any discomfort whatsoever.

We will then check to make sure we have removed all the decay.  The area will be thoroughly cleaned of debris and bacteria.  If we have had to go very deep and are near the root of the tooth, we will put in a liner to protect your nerve.  The tooth filling will then be inserted and it will be finished off and polished.

If you have opted for tooth-colored composite fillings, the tooth decay filling procedure will be a little longer as the material has to be applied in layers and hardened using a special light.  We will then shape the material and trim off any excess portions to achieve the desired results.  The cavity filling will then be polished to look as natural as possible.

The type of filling we use is highly dependent upon your situation, including how much of your tooth we had to remove, where the tooth is and your personal choice.  For example, silver fillings are highly durable and can last up to 15 years, but they don’t look as natural as composite fillings.

What is a Temporary Tooth Filling?

In some cases, a temporary tooth filling might be required.  For example, gold fillings and indirect fillings (often used when there isn’t enough of your tooth left to support a normal filling) require more than one appointment, in which case we will use a temporary filling to protect the area.  Remember that a temporary filling won’t last more than a month, so don’t put off getting your permanent cavity fillings too long.

Temporary tooth fillings are also used after a root canal, for emergency dental treatments and to let your tooth’s nerve relax before further procedures if the pulp has become irritated.

Take Care of your Tooth Filling

After the procedure, your tooth may be sensitive to temperature, sweet foods, air or pressure, but you should not worry as this will pass within a few weeks.  Of course, until that time, you should avoid anything that causes discomfort.  If the sensitivity does not pass within a month, then we may have to apply a desensitizing agent to the area or do a root canal procedure.

In terms of caring for your fillings, you will need to practice good oral hygiene, which means brushing with a a fluoride toothpaste and flossing at least once per day.  You should also come in for regular cleanings which would allow us to make sure your fillings are in good shape.  Sometimes, fillings can crack or “leak,” which means that the sides of the filling don’t fit perfectly against the tooth, allowing saliva and debris to penetrate into the tooth.  This can lead to decay, which is why getting regular check-ups is vital.  This allows us to catch any issues before they become serious problems.

Getting a tooth filling might involve a small level of discomfort but it will save you a lot of pain over the long-term.  Book an appointment today and get your teeth checked out!