Fillings are used to restore teeth that have been affected by tooth decay, to repair cracked or broken teeth, and teeth that have been worn down from misuse (such as tooth grinding).
What Steps Are Involved in Filling a Tooth?
First, we use a local anaesthetic to numb the area around the tooth to be filled. Next, we remove the decayed area.
Once the decay has been removed, we prepare the space for the filling by cleaning the cavity of bacteria and debris.
If the decay is near the root, we may first put in a liner made of glass ionomer, composite resin, or other material to protect the nerve. This is followed by polishing the filling.
What Types of Filling Materials Are Available?
Today, several dental filling materials are available. This includes composite resins & glass ionomers ("white fillings"), dental amalgams (which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper), golds alloys and dental ceramics.
The choice of filling material is based on the location and extent of the decay, because no single material will be suitable for all restorative cases. The wrong choice of filling material reduces its performance, longevity and ultimately may shorten the life of the tooth.
If you have reservations about what the best type of dental material is suitable, we can help you weigh up the benefits and disadvantages of each material and advise you on what is the most appropriate type of filling to be used.
Factors to consider when selecting a filling material:
- front vs back teeth
- the size and location of the decay
- performance and longevity of the restorative material
- the ability to withstand "biting" load
- retention of the material to the tooth
- protect remaining tooth structure
- prevent future caries
- assist in the remineralisation of surrounding teeth