‘You need a filling’ is something we all dread to hear. Fillings are not exclusive to adults; they can be needed at any age including during childhood. Fillings come about because of tooth decay or damage. When tooth decay occurs, the enamel on your teeth begins to dissolve away. Over time, if left untreated, this can result in holes in your teeth called cavities.
Here at Beaches Dental Mona Vale, our dentists have a lot of experience in dealing with tooth decay. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about dental fillings. From what’s involved in the filling process to some signs and symptoms to watch out for that may suggest you need a filling.
What Are Fillings
Fillings are generally used to repair tooth decay in its early stages. The outer layer of your teeth is called enamel. Enamel is very hard, however it can still be damaged. When decay begins eating away at your dental enamel, cavities can begin to form. It is important to get cavities filled. Left untreated they can decay further and require more complex treatment.
Fillings can also be used to repair damage such as small chips or cracks in your teeth. The filling helps to protect your tooth, preventing bacteria from becoming trapped in the crevice.
Fillings are usually made of either composite resin or amalgam. They can last for many years if you maintain good oral health habits. This includes regular trips to the dentist for check-ups and professional cleaning as well as regular brushing with fluoride-based toothpaste and daily flossing. Good oral health habits also include consuming a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
What is Involved
Fillings are one of the most common dental treatments we perform here at our Northern Beaches dental practice. Below is generally what the process looks like for getting a filling:
During a check-up, your dentist may notice a cavity or other damage that requires a filling. They will take an X-ray to identify the extent of the damage before proceeding with any further treatment. This allows your dentist to understand exactly what is going on and provide you with the most suitable treatment plan.
The next step involves removing the decay. Your dentist will usually numb the area completely before doing so, so you shouldn’t feel much at all. Once the decay is removed your dentist will thoroughly clean and dry the area to prepare it for the dental filling.
This step is when the filling gets placed. Your dentist will fill the cavity or damaged spot with the chosen material. Once this is done it will be set, shaped and polished.
Final checks will be done to make sure your bite is correct and your new filling feels comfortable.
This whole process can be done in one appointment. The material used for dental fillings can match your natural tooth colour for a natural-looking finish.
What to Look Out For
The need for fillings can be minimised with good oral hygiene and care. However, sometimes decay and damage can happen as we go through life. The best thing to do is go to your dentist for regular check-ups. They will be able to check the health of each of your teeth. It is important to treat decay in its early stages. This can prevent unnecessary discomfort and more costly treatments down the line. Some signs to look out for include:
- White or brown spots on your teeth
- Tooth discolouration
- A visible hole in your tooth
- Sensitivity to cold or hot drinks
- Sensitivity to sweets
- Pain when chewing or brushing your teeth
Fillings are one of the most common dental procedures. Having a dental filling is a quick and easy process. Dental fillings can be long-lasting if you maintain good oral care. Taking great care of your teeth and gums can also prevent the need for future fillings.
At Beaches Dental Mona Vale, we are passionate about healthy teeth. Are you overdue for a dental check-up? Give us a call to schedule your appointment today.