Dental decay is one of the most common oral problems that patients have. It affects people of all ages, ranging from children to adults. The effects of dental decay on teeth and mouth are extreme, especially if you allow the problem to escalate.
The process of dental decay beings with a cavity on the surface of teeth. This cavity becomes the entry point for bacteria and food residue to penetrate the insides of the tooth. When the inside is infected, other issues like abscess build-up, severe toothache, swelling, and inflammation are all consequences. It is why cavities must be sealed before the decay process advances.
Usage of Dental Fillings in Dentistry
Dental Fillings are used to seal the cavities formed during dental decay. The fillings cover the surface of the tooth on which the decay process has already begun. The materials used for dental fillings do not allow penetration of substances into the insides of teeth.
What Happens During Dental Fillings Procedures
The process of installing a filling on a tooth is not a difficult one to accomplish. The initial steps of the procedure involve cleaning the tooth professionally. This will get rid of all the bacteria and food residues that might be trapped in the tooth. It is also the best way to remove any plaque that has built-up on the tooth, causing the decay.
After the cleaning, the dentist will examine the extent of the cavity. This impacts the size of the dental filling that will be installed on your tooth. The dental filling material used for your treatment will depend on your preference, guided by what is most suitable for your current need.
The whole procedure tends to be painful and uncomfortable, given the effects of dental decay. It is why local anesthesia is necessary for use before the process begins. The dental filling is bonded to the tooth using special dental cement. This secures it permanently, sealing out any bacteria and food residues from getting through to the tooth. Your dentist will then polish the filling to ensure it sits perfectly and feels smooth on the surface.
Types of Dental Fillings
The only way to determine the safest dental filling for you is by knowing about the options there are. The differences in the types of oral fillings are marked by the material used to manufacture the filling. The types include:
- Gold fillings – they feature gold as the primary material. However, gold is combined with other metals like platinum and copper. This features a sturdy dental filling that can last up to 15 years or more. The biggest downside to gold fillings is the cost. Given the gold material, gold fillings are very costly.
- Silver fillings – the are also called amalgams. They feature silver material. It is one of the most common dental filling used in dentistry. It is affordable, and not as expensive as gold fillings. The greatest problem with these fillings is that they expand and contract with temperature changes. This can cause your natural tooth to crack. Besides that, they are not cosmetically appealing to the eye.
- Composite fillings – they feature a resin material. They are loved because they are tooth-colored, making them cosmetically appealing. However, composite fillings are not very sturdy when compared to other materials. They also are expensive; costing double the price of silver dental fillings.
- Porcelain or ceramic dental fillings – they feature porcelain material that is usually plastic-like. They also have a cosmetic advantage because they are tooth-colored. They are strong materials that can last for more than 15 years with proper care. They, however, have a high price, with cost matching those of gold fillings.
- Glass ionomer – they feature a special type of glass called acrylic. They are mostly used for filling children’s teeth. However, they are also used to cover the exposed roots of the front teeth below the gum line. The greatest advantage of these dental fillings is that they release fluoride in teeth. Fluoride is a natural element that is needed to strengthen teeth and fight against cavities and dental decays. The downside is in the sturdiness of the material. Glass ionomer is prone to fracturing, with a longevity of 5 years or less. Besides that, they cost as much as composite fillings, which are twice as expensive as amalgams.