Tooth fillings or dental fillings are a type of orthodontic treatment used to treat decayed teeth and restore their functionality, structure, and integrity. Tooth fillings, in addition to treating cavity-filled teeth, prevent further damage and minimize the possibility of infection and pain. Simply, a tooth filling seals a cavity or a hole in the tooth’s missing structure.
The dental fillings procedure may cause slight discomfort, but usually, it does not cause any pain. After getting tooth fillings, people can also feel mild sensitivity in the affected tooth, but it generally goes away on its own or with the help of medications within a few days.
It is the most effective and widely preferred method to treat cavity-filled or decayed teeth, and it significantly restores their form and function. To treat a tooth with dental caries, the orthodontist first drills out all the decayed material and then cleans the cavity. After that, he fills the hole in the tooth with cavity-filling materials.
If teeth with dental caries are left untreated for extended periods, tooth decay will completely erode the tooth, leading to severe cavity pain and forming an abscess around the affected tooth. Such conditions then require more complicated dental treatments like a root canal or, in some cases, an extraction in order to stop the spread of decay.
The Procedure for Getting Tooth Fillings
The procedure of getting tooth fillings usually requires 1 to 2 dental appointments. The average time to get fillings usually ranges from 20 minutes to an hour. In most cases, placing a dental filling is a relatively painless and simple procedure and is carried out with the help of anesthesia.
In the first step of getting fillings, the dentist inspects every tooth surface and checks for signs of decay and any cracks or fissures that might be susceptible to decay in the future. The dentist also takes a dental x-ray to get a better idea of the condition of the patient’s teeth.
If the decay is only on the tooth’s surface, the dentist might not need to administer anesthetic. He can simply drill the damaged tooth enamel without causing any pain. But in some severe cases, the dentist will have to inject a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth, and they may also use a numbing agent on the gums to minimize discomfort.
- Removing Decay
After the anesthetic and numbing agents have taken effect, the dentist will remove parts of the tooth damaged from decay. This is performed using a high-speed drill, laser, or air abrasion. With the help of anesthetic agents, this procedure does not hurt.
Once the tooth is free from dental caries or decay, the dentist will make sure that the hole left by the cavity is of suitable shape and size to hold the filling material in place. He will also ensure that it is completely sterile and clean and is ready for the filling material to be applied.
The filing procedure slightly differs for each type of dental filling. For an amalgam filling, the material mixed before application, and the dentist presses it into the space to filled, and it hardens by itself. In the case of a direct composite filling, the surface will be etched firstly with an acid gel to make the bond stronger, and after 15 seconds, the gel will be washed off, leaving a roughened surface behind.
After that, the dentist applies a layer of bonding gel to the surface, which helps the filling material to form a strong bond with the affected tooth. The composite filling material must cure with a blue light. Depending on how deep the filling is, the dentist builds the dental composite up in several stages.
- Shaping and Polishing
Once the tooth filling has placed, and the material has hardened. It is time to shape and polish the tooth. Dentists shape the affected tooth in order to match the original tooth.
- How Does Invisalign Work, Its Advantages and Treatment?
- Best Ways of Teeth Whitening Naturally At Home
- Is Invisalign Straighten Your Teeth? Cost & Information
If the filling is on a biting surface. The dentist might use a piece of articulating paper to check if it is suitable. The dentist or orthodontist might also make minor improvements. In order to improve the biting contact before giving the tooth a final shape and polish.
Benefits Of Dental Fillings
Dental fillings stop the further spread of decay and save the form and function of adjacent teeth. In addition to this, fillings also impart people with multiple benefits.
- It Prevents the Growth of Cavities
During the placement of dental fillings, the decayed portion of the affected tooth removed. The dentist then puts a filling material in the cavity. Completely seals the hole and shields the nerve receptors in the dentine from exposure to the extreme temperatures of the foods. You consume and prevent the growth of further cavities.
- Enhances the Strength of the Natural Tooth
Tooth fillings also strengthen the form and function of decayed teeth. Furthermore, dental fillings are temporary and do not damage the affected tooth during the filling process.
- Enhances the Strength of Broken Teeth
In some cases, tooth fillings can be used to treat a cracked or fractured tooth. For this purpose, composite fillings usually preferred. This procedure restores the structure and integrity of the affected teeth to a great extent.
Our teeth become weak as we age and can fracture due to various reasons, including oral trauma from physical activities or accidental damage. Teeth can also crack or fractured when we chew on hard food items, nuts, ice or candies.
- Protects Teeth from Further Decay
Our teeth have tiny holes that tend to trap food particles and debris, eventually leading to tooth decay. But with the help of dental fillings, they can seal, which protects teeth from decay.
Estimated Costs of Fillings
The approximate costs of dental fillings usually depend on the position of the affected tooth in the mouth. The material used, and the size of the cavity. On average dental fillings can cost you around $100 to $400 per tooth. But these are inconsistent costs and vary greatly.