A dental filling is a type of restorative dentistry used to repair minimal tooth fractures, tooth decay or otherwise damaged surfaces of the teeth. Dental filling materials, which include tooth-coloured composite resin and silver amalgam, may be used to even out tooth surfaces for better biting or chewing. Enamel loss is a common component of tooth decay, and may result in tooth sensitivity. In many cases, tooth sensitivity caused by enamel loss will be significantly improved or completely eliminated once an appropriate dental filling material is placed.
There are 2 major choices when it comes to filling damaged or decayed teeth. You may choose to have white, tooth-coloured composite fillings or silver amalgam restorations. Many people decide to replace their older silver amalgam fillings with newer white composite fillings. In addition to having a more pleasing and natural tooth-like appearance, composite fillings have the potential advantage of not containing mercury or other metals that may contribute to sensitivity or toxicity. Composite white fillings previously were not as durable as amalgams. However, dental manufacturers have made great strides in improving the strength of composite resin materials, to the effect that composite fillings may now be used for all teeth, including molars. Furthermore, composite materials often require less tooth preparation and may not weaken the affected tooth as much as amalgam fillings, which often require more extensive tooth preparation. This means that less healthy tooth structure has to be removed when placing a composite.
The success of composite fillings depends on your dentist’s technique and skills. All dentists in Westport Dental Centre have vast experience in placing composite fillings and obtained post-graduate education which enables them to place white fillings of the highest quality. Composite white filling restoration also requires the use of additional equipment, and the procedure itself requires up to 50% more time than the amalgam filling procedure. These factors contribute to the higher costs associated with composite fillings.
After the cavity has been filled, your dentist will discuss steps you can take to prevent decay from forming under or around the filling, or in other teeth. Brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing with dental floss or an interdental cleaner once a day is advised. Keep appointments with your dentist and hygienist for routine check-ups and teeth cleanings. Depending on your risk of caries, your dentist also may suggest sealants that can be placed over your molars to prevent the build-up of plaque and decay, as well as the use of fluoride mouth rinses as an additional preventative measure. Also, since diet and nutrition affect oral health, it will be important to maintain a balanced diet and limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks, and between-meal snacks.