Dental fillings are one of the most common dental procedures. This is mainly because they’re so effective at treating a small problem that, if left unchecked, can quickly turn into a major issue. In fact, fillings are so effective that they have been used to treat dental problems since the Middle Ages – quite an impressive history of success!
What Is A Dental Filling?
A dental filling is used to treat cavities in teeth. Cavities are caused by decay. The composite material that is used to make the filling bonds to the teeth and fills the gap that has been created by decay. This restores the structure and function of the tooth and helps to prolong its lifetime.
Dr Olstein avoids the use of amalgam fillings as these are made out of materials such as mercury that can be harmful to your body and overall health and wellbeing. Composite fillings are not only more effective, they are completely harmless to our bodies, and are also white, which makes them much more natural looking.
So, How Do I Know If I Need a Filling?
In an ideal world, you should be visiting your dentist twice a year. During these regular check-ups, your dentist will be able to pick up on any decay and treat it straight away so as to prevent more serious issues if left untreated.
However, it’s common knowledge that people are a little lax when it comes to going to the dentist. So, if you notice any of the following, you should make an appointment – there’s a chance you’re going to need a filling:
- Sharp or throbbing pains in your tooth that have no immediate cause (such as trauma)
- Pain whenever you brush, eat or put any type of pressure on your teeth
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods when you’re eating
- A spot or hole in your tooth
- A feeling of inconsistency when you run your tongue along your teeth, such as sharp or jagged edges
- If dental floss is constantly fraying in a particular area of your mouth there’s a chance that there is a hole there
These are all common warning signs but you should remember that even without the above symptoms, decay might be affecting your teeth. That’s why it’s so important to visit the dentist regularly. It really is the best way to treat decay before you need fillings, or before your cavities become so big that you lose your teeth.
What Can Happen If I Don’t Get A Filling?
In short, the results can be disastrous. Possible effects include:
- Spread of decay to other teeth or gums, which can lead to gingivitis and eventually periodontitis
- Basic needs such as eating and drinking can become incredibly painful and difficult
- If decay is allowed to spread, the bacteria can cause embarrassing problems such as halitosis (bad breath)
- If the decay spreads to the root of the teeth, you will need a far more invasive treatment options, such as a root canal
- If the cavity becomes too big, you may lose your tooth. One missing tooth has a huge impact on the overall health and structure of your other teeth, placing undue pressure on your teeth. This could mean that you end up losing a number of teeth
How Does A Filling Procedure Work?
The first part of the treatment will involve an examination of your mouth to see where the cavities are and how serious they are. If your dentist decides that the problem can be fixed with a filling, the procedure will go something like this:
- The dentist will apply local anaesthetic to the area before gently removing the decayed portion of the teeth.
- Once the decay is removed, a gel will be applied to etch the surface of the affected area.
- Bonding solution will then be applied before the composite material is used to fill in the hole.
- Once it has polymerized, your dentist will shape the filling so it matches up with your other tooth and your overall bite.
- After the filling has set, your dentist will polish it to get it nice and white and protect it from any stains.
A filling usually only needs one appointment and after that appointment you’ll be able to enjoy a fully functional tooth that is free of decay.
Dental fillings are a great way to ensure the health of your teeth for as long as possible. Just make sure you visit the dentist on a regular enough basis that a filling is still an option.
If you think you may need a filling or haven’t had a dental check-up in a while, book your appointment with Dr George Olstein today.