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Fillings

Dental Fillings are used to treat and fill cavities, but they can also be used to repair cracked, worn or broken teeth.

Fillings are used to restore decayed teeth to their normal appearance and function.

Historically, dentists have used various materials, including gold, porcelain and amalgam, which is composed of mercury, copper, tin and zinc. Today, fillings typically consist of composite resin materials that match the colour of natural teeth. Tooth-coloured fillings are an excellent, subtle cosmetic dentistry option that enhances the appearance of decayed or damaged teeth.

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What is a cavity?

Cavities are a result of tooth decay. Bacteria found naturally in your mouth feed on sugars from your food and produce an acid which slowly dissolves the tooth surface. A cavity or hole then develops giving space for more bacteria. By removing the decay and placing a filling, the decay is prevented from spreading further in the tooth and reaching the sensitive inner nerve and blood supply.

Why do I need a filling?

You may need a Filling if you:

  • Have a decayed tooth
  • Have a broken or chipped tooth
  • Need to repair old or damaged Fillings
  • Need to seal a Root Canal
  • Need to build a core for a Crown

What are my dental filling options?

There are two categories of Dental Fillings, and each offers advantages and disadvantages depending on your situation and the tooth being restored. The categories are metal and tooth-coloured fillings.

  • Metal fillings

Amalgam or “silver” fillings are an alloy made from a combination of silver, tin, mercury, and copper. Although they are strong, these fillings are more noticeable and require more drilling to hold the filling in the tooth, than the other options. They are typically used in molars toward the back of the mouth. 

  • Tooth-Coloured fillings

Composite resin is the most popular type of filling material used as it can be made to match the exact colour of your existing teeth and shaped to your tooth structure. Composite is a mixture of glass and polymers. Less drilling of your tooth is required because the material bonds to the tooth surface, making it a more preservative option. 

Ceramic inlays are custom made, stronger and more resistant to staining. However, the process takes longer.

What is the procedure:

A filling is a simple and common procedure that follows these steps:

  • Anaesthetic is used to numb the area being treated
  • The decay is removed from the tooth
  • The tooth is restored using an appropriate filling material
  • Your bite is checked to ensure your teeth are aligned correctly

What should I expect after getting a filling?

If you've had anaesthesia you may feel numb, but it should wear off within a couple of hours. Some sensitivity to hot and cold substances is normal for a couple of days. If you experience any discomfort when biting you may require an adjustment to your filling. Your dentist will give you all the aftercare instructions.

How should I care for my teeth with fillings?

We want to preserve your teeth and protect your smile. One of the ways we can do that is to prevent further dental decay.

Continue to practice good oral hygiene. Brush and floss your teeth as normal.

Visit your dentist and hygienist at least twice a year for regular oral exams and professional cleanings.

At Platinum Dental Care we are committed to helping you protect your teeth and to keeping them healthy.

What are tooth-coloured fillings made of?

Tooth-coloured fillings consist of a mixture of acrylic resin, powdered glass and a setting agent. The composite is versatile and can restore tooth tissue in some cases. The colour of the composite resin is white and your dentist can adjust the shade to match the colour of your natural teeth.

How much do tooth-coloured fillings cost?

Prices for tooth-coloured fillings vary, but they typically cost around £120 to £250.

What are the benefits of tooth-coloured fillings?

The main advantage of tooth-coloured fillings is its cosmetic benefits. The colour of the filling closely matches the shade of the underlying and surrounding teeth, making it subtler and creating a more aesthetically pleasing result.

Additionally, the resin chemically bonds to the tooth, which makes the filling more durable. The resin seeps into the grooves of the tooth, strengthening and supporting the underlying structure. Your dentist won’t need to remove as much of your tooth when using resin, so more of the tooth’s natural structure can be saved.

What is the process of getting a tooth-coloured filling?

Getting a tooth-coloured filling is a simple treatment and your dentist can often perform it on the same day they discover the tooth decay or damage. First, your dentist numbs the area around the tooth before removing the damaged parts to ensure that only healthy tooth remains.

A compound is then added to the tooth to create grooves and ridges that help the resin adhere to the surface, reinforcing the structure of the tooth. The dentist then applies and shapes the resin. Finally, they harden the filling with a special light and polish it for a smooth feel and appearance.

If you are replacing your silver fillings, the dentist will have to remove them first. 

How long will a tooth-coloured filling last?

A tooth-coloured filling can last as long as an amalgam filling, which is around ten years. The lifespan of a filling will depend on various factors including its position in the mouth and your dental hygiene routine. You may need to have a filling replaced if the tooth decays further or the filling becomes loose.

Keeping up good dental hygiene is an effective way to maintain your oral health and reduce the necessity for further restorative work.

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