Posted by Dr. William Yoo
Cavities are ever fun and can be painful and a nuisance to treat.
When harmful bacteria build up in your mouth due to poor oral hygiene practices and excessive sugars, they can cause your teeth to become infected and decay over time. Cavities are the result of this tooth decay.
In order to treat cavities, a dental professional will have to remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then fill in the area the decayed material was removed from.
Although fillings are used to fill in a tooth following treatment for a cavity, that is not the only purpose they serve. A filling can also be useful to help repair teeth that have been cracked, broken, or worn down due to teeth-grinding or nail-biting.
Whatever the reason may be, fillings are important to help restore the integrity of your teeth. After all, chipped or broken teeth look incomplete and can distort the appearance of your smile.
Filling in a tooth not only helps to restore the tooth to its original size and shape, but it also provides a seal to close up the area from which the decayed material was removed. A few steps are involved in the filling of a tooth, including:
A dental professional will use a local anesthetic to numb the area around the target tooth to be filled.
The next step involves the removal of the part of the tooth that’s decayed. In order to do this, a dental professional will use a drill, a laser, or an air abrasion instrument.
The type of instrument used for this step can vary from one dentist to another and is based on the type of equipment they have available, the specific training they may have, and the level to which the decay has occurred. The area will then be probed to ensure that all of the decay has been properly removed.
Once all of the decay and infected material has been removed, the cavity is once again cleaned to remove any bacteria. This is followed by the application of the filling to seal your tooth. Once the filling is in, it will be finished and polished.
If the filling is going to be colour-matched to the rest of your teeth, a process of multiple layering is applied. Each layer of the tooth-coloured material that is applied is cured with a special light which helps to harden it. Once the layering process is complete, the tooth will be cut, trimmed, and polished to create the final result.
A number of different types of materials are used to make fillings. Some of these materials include:
A number of factors contribute to the type of filling used in your tooth. The type of filling material chosen will be dependent on the severity and location of the decay, the cost of the filling, and the recommendation of a dental professional.
Ceramic fillings, usually made of porcelain, are designed to match the colour of the tooth they are being used to fill. Unlike silver or gold fillings, ceramic fillings provide the most natural-looking filling material that can be made to match the exact colour and hue of any tooth in your mouth.
Once the decay in your tooth has been removed and cleaned of a cavity, it can be sealed with a ceramic material that matches the natural colour of your tooth enamel. The end result is a tooth that is visually pleasing and cannot be distinguished as a damaged tooth.
With all the advancements in dental technologies, ceramic fillings can be used to fill teeth that are under a lot of pressure while chewing, such as your molars and bicuspids.
Ceramic fillings are growing in popularity among dentists for their reliable and long-lasting nature. Some of the advantages of ceramic fillings include the following:
The biggest and most obvious benefit of ceramic fillings is the natural appearance of the tooth after it has been filled in. Ceramic fillings are virtually indistinguishable from your healthy teeth, leading many patients to replace all of their old fillings with ceramic ones.
In the past, mercury was an acceptable material to include in amalgam fillings. However, mercury has been proven to be toxic and is also a potential allergen for some individuals. Luckily, ceramic fillings do not pose any of these dangers and are significantly less toxic compared to mercury and amalgam fillings.
Compared to other types of fillings such as composite fillings, ceramic fillings show greater resistance to stains and abrasions. Amalgam fillings can sometimes become cracked or develop fissures and these open up spaces for bacteria to create a home.
Ironically, these cracks and fissures in amalgam fillings can lead to decay within the tooth that the filling was intended to seal.
One of the strongest advantages of ceramic fillings compared to other types of filling materials is its ability to last several years. Composite fillings tend to last between 5 to 10 years, while amalgam fillings can last between 10 to 15 years.
In comparison, ceramic fillings can last up to 20 years if they are taken care of properly. This can be a blessing for those who don’t want to undergo frequent oral procedures.
There’s no doubt that ceramic fillings can be one of the best choices to fill in your cavity. Ceramic fillings offer you a natural-looking tooth, which is stain-resistant, less toxic, durable, and long-lasting.
Although slightly more costly than other filling materials, ceramic fillings can last up to 20 years, which makes them a good investment. The comfort of knowing that you are not putting your health at risk and a reduced need to replace ceramic fillings for a long time is ample compensation for the slightly higher cost.