Dental fillings restore the function of a tooth that was previously damaged by decay. They also prevent the tooth from decaying any further by closing off the damaged areas where bacteria can more easily enter.
During the process of installing dental fillings, the dentist first cleans out any decayed material in the tooth and cleans the area affected by the decay before fitting in the cavity with the material.
The filling is only fitted after the affected area has been cleaned out. In some cases, a small rubber dam will be used to target the tooth to avoid any liquid and tooth chips from entering your throat.
Types of Dental Fillings
Different types of dental fillings work for different types of people, and the right type of dental filling for you depends on a number of factors, such as possible allergies to certain materials, where the filling needs to be placed in your mouth, and the cost of the dental filling itself.
Here are the four types of dental fillings most commonly used by dentists:
- Gold – This type of filling is one of the most expensive, as it’s made to order in a laboratory and is cemented in place. While this is the best filling material, this also requires multiple visits to secure properly.
- Amalgam (silver) – This is the inexpensive option to gold filling, while being just as resistant to wear. However, amalgam is more noticeable, and is often used only for the back teeth instead of the front.
- Porcelain – A porcelain restoration often covers most of the tooth. Called “inlays” or “on-lays”, they are also made to order in a laboratory and can be just as expensive as gold fillings.
- Composite resin – Resin can be made to match the color of your teeth, which is often used to achieve a more natural appearance. However, they are less durable than the other types of fillings and are more prone to staining.
Taking Care of Dental Fillings
Oral care is particularly important to maintain upon receiving dental fillings. After treatment and receiving the dental filling, there may be sensitivity and pain afterward, but this will eventually subside afterward.
To minimize the initial pain while maintaining oral care, it might be necessary to take the switch to using oral care products that are specifically designed to protect sensitive teeth. For instance, soft-bristled toothbrushes and special toothpaste will still do the job of cleaning sensitive teeth while not irritating the dental fillings and causing pain.
Tooth fillings are designed to resist wear for a certain amount of time. However, they can wear down and start to crack after years of chewing, clenching, and grinding one’s teeth. Be sure to see a dentist right away if these signs start to show.