One of the most common dental procedures that everyone may have gone through at one point in their lives is tooth filling. This is a dental procedure intended to restore the function and integrity of teeth that have been damaged by cavities or an injury.
Advantages of Dental Filling
Dental fillings are usually done when damage to the tooth has not yet been too extensive. This means the treatment may not be too complex and as such, will not entail too much expense. Being less complex, duration may be shorter allowing the patient more comfort during and after the procedure.
In most cases where dental fillings are performed early, there is a greater amount of healthy tooth that is retained. This is very significant because this means the tooth is relatively stronger with a greater ratio of strong tooth structure that the filling material.
Other benefits with having a tooth filled would include limiting or arresting the damage caused by cavities and decay. This would also offer protection from further damage of the remaining tooth structure. Since the tooth retains as much strength, function of the tooth is reestablished and may be considered stronger when compared to teeth treated through other dental procedures.
The Dental Filling Procedure
Once it has been determined that there are no contraindications to having a dental filling, the dentist will numb the area with the use of anesthesia. The type and strength of the anesthesia will largely depend on the assessment of the dentist on the tooth that will be worked on.
The dentist will then proceed to the removal of the tooth structure that has been damaged, making sure that only the healthy portion is left. Dental filling is then placed in the affected tooth, with the type of filling determined earlier. The filled tooth will then be shaped, smoothed, and polished by the dentist, seeing to it that chewing is not hampered and that brushing may be done normally.
Types of Filling
There are a number of types of dental fillings that can be used, which may also be classified to direct and indirect filling. Direct filling is performed by placing the filling directly to the tooth. Materials for these may include the amalgam or silver filling, resin or composite, resin ionomer and glass ionomer.
The other option is the indirect filling wherein dental fillings are made outside of the mouth, normally in a dental laboratory. Once this has been completed, the dental filling is then cemented in the tooth. Materials for this type of filling would include the ceramic or porcelain, gold alloy, and base metal alloy.