Dental Filling or Dental restoration is a treatment modality to restore the missing tooth structure which could have been a result of decay (bacteria which destroys the teeth with its acid) or trauma (a force that has broken the tooth). Decay makes the tooth hollow. A dental filling helps to fill this gap and protect it from further decay. A filling is also used to repair broken or cracked tooth and the teeth which wear off due to dental habits like teeth grinding, nail biting etc.
There are various signs and symptoms where fillings can be required –
- A hole in the tooth
- Dark spots on the tooth
- Food stuck between certain areas of the teeth
- Chipped or broken tooth
- Sensitivity to hot and cold food and beverage
- Single or multiple cavities
Types of Dental Fillings/Restorations
· Amalgam Filling
The conventional “silver” filling – which is avoided now due to the potential environmental pollution due to the mercury in the filling.
· Tooth Coloured Fillings (Composite Fillings)
The “composite” resin fillings are made to match the tooth colour perfectly. They are used to reshape and restore a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.
· Deep Fillings (GIC Fillings)
The deep cavities demand special attention. Deep cavities mean that the bacteria have reached the vital centre of the tooth and hence the fillings are made to protect the pulp as well as promote healing. The filling material is white in color.
· Inlay and Onlay
This is a modified filling where the measurement of the cavity is taken and the filling is fabricated in the laboratory. This makes the contours of the filling precise to micron thickness. They can be made in composite, gold, semi-precious alloys, ceramic, zirconia, depending upon the aesthetics and strength demand. This is a great treatment option when your teeth need more than a filling but not a dental crown.
A sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of molars, premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth. More than 75% of dental decay begins in these deep grooves. Teeth with these conditions are hard to clean and are very susceptible to decay. A sealant protects the tooth by sealing deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy to clean surface.
Benefits of getting dental fillings
- Will match and improve the aesthetics of your teeth
- Certain fillings like the glass ionomer can release fluoride, helping to safeguard your tooth from future decay
- Will help provide additional strength and support to a weak tooth
- Helps prevent possible infections in the tooth, especially after a root canal treatment
- Improves tooth function by making chewing and eating less painful and difficult