Who in the world does not like sporting a bright smile and a set of healthy teeth with which no culinary delight is out of reach? However, it has been often observed that many among you are scared to go to the dentist for a dental restoration. Reason being, you are scared of the concept of tooth filling. It might be a lack of proper knowledge or the complete absence of it which might be depriving you from adopting this perfectly safe technique. In this article I will try to address the concept of tooth filling from its very base and will also provide you with as elaborate information as possible.
What is a Dental Filling?
For those unfamiliar to the process of dental filling, the simplest explanation is that when your tooth structure undergoes some sort of decay or accidental deformation, some artificial implantation processes are conducted in order to restore it directly or indirectly. These processes are known as dental filling.
What is the Tooth Filling Process?
As you move up the ladder of age, you develop various eating habits which in turn expose your teeth to various sorts of bacteria which start living on your teeth. As you enjoy your food, these bacteria too keep getting their nutrition. They are sticky in nature and are often referred to as plaque which keeps on growing and producing strong acids which in turn become responsible for the decay of the teeth. One of the most common problems faced from plaque is the development of a hole inside a tooth. It is usually called a cavity or decay.
The sad part of this problem is that unlike the bones and cells of our body, the teeth are one such part which lacks the capacity of regeneration. Thus, once a hole gets formed in a tooth, it cannot be removed. While in the earlier days, the only solution was to remove the tooth itself now, modern medical advances have come up with the option of tooth filling where not only is the bacteria removed from the hole but, the hole gets filled by a hard material similar to a tooth. Also, the tooth filling option is used to treat general wear and tear, poor dental hygiene routines which lead to bad teeth or breaking of teeth.
What Materials are used for Tooth Fillings?
There are a range of materials used for tooth fillings. Some of them are:
- Precious Metallic Alloys like gold, gold-platina alloy, gold alloys
- Base Metal Alloys like cobalt-chrome, and nikel-chrome
- Amalgam like mercury combined with silver, tin, copper, zinc, and mercury
- Composite resins
- Pure Gold
How to Decide Which Filling Type is Best?
Your choice of filling should ideally be based on the position of the decayed tooth, the extent to which the decay has taken place, the cost you are prepared to spend on the filling, the advice that your dentist gives you and lastly the logistical aspects like the insurance coverage that you have and also the advantages and disadvantages of the various filling types. Check out WebMD;s information about the different types of fillings and why some are better than others.
What is the Procedure of Tooth Filling?
Keeping in mind the aspects of fear and pain, dentists usually follow a particular procedure to make the tooth filling process as hassle free as possible.
- Dentists usually apply anesthesia so that the connection between the tooth and brain gets hampered for some time and the patient does not feel the pain. Usually the anesthesia is injected in to the patient’s mouth and prior to the application of the injection a numbing gel is applied so that the injecting process is less painful, too.
- In order to keep your mouth fit for the tooth filling process, the dentist may use a couple of tools like a rubber dam or a bite block to make the process easier.
- The next step involves the removal of the tooth decay for which again there are certain assigned tools like a high-speed hand piece drill, a high volume and low volume suction tube which helps remove the water, saliva, and tooth debris from the mouth. There is also the low-speed hand piece drill which helps to slowly remove the decay along with some hand held metal instruments which are also used by the dentist. Once the decayed tooth and debris is removed, the dentist cleans the mouth with a water sprayer.
- This is technically the last step where the dentist has to fill the decayed portion of the tooth and has to make it look like the original tooth. The actions at this stage depend both on the location of the decay as well as on the material which is being used for the filling. For example, filling decay near the root involves using a glass ionomer, composite resin, and similar material to protect the nerve. Sometimes the filling material has to be applied in layers which have to be hardened with special lights and after completing the layering, the extra material is removed and a final polish is given to make it look like the real tooth.
What are the After Effects of a Tooth filling?
Because a foreign element is inserted in your tooth, for some days after the operation you may have a feeling of sensitivity in your tooth. However, if this sensitivity becomes greater when you bite something, you should consult your doctor as this may be a sign of there being a problem with the filling. In such cases the dentist usually checks the filling and smooths it over so as to make the condition normal again.
How much time does the tooth filling process take?
The maximum time estimated for a tooth filling process is known to be 30 minutes.
What is the Cost Factor Involved in a Tooth Filling Process?
If you have dental insurance, it usually includes bearing cost of the composites up to the cost of a silver filling. If you are going for services beyond this range, you are expected to pay the difference. However, in the absence of insurance the expected cost is between £60 and £150.