All You Need To Know About Cavity Filling
Everybody desires to have a healthy smile, but not many people know the best way to go about doing this. Not only does one need to brush after each meal, but also they must visit a dentist at least once every six months for a check-up and cleaning. Some people do not possess the time or money it takes to maintain a clean mouth on a regular basis. That is why cavity fillings are always available as an option for those who cannot afford frequent dental visits.
5 types of cavity filling
- Gold fillings: Gold fillings are the most expensive fillings you can get, but they are also the longest-lasting. Gold is durable and does not wear down over time as silver fillings do. This makes gold fillings ideal for molars in particular because it takes a lot of chewing force to break apart these molars. Because this type of filling is more expensive than others, it is not recommended that one gets it fixed every single time they have a cavity. It is better to wait until there are multiple cavities before deciding on getting gold fillings done.
- Amalgam fillings: Amalgam fillings are made out of mercury, silver, tin, and copper alloyed together into what people commonly know as "silver fillings". These are cheaper than gold fillings, which is why molars with small cavities are often filled with amalgam even if the damage is too small for a filling to be visible. When one has a cavity filled in a baby tooth, it must be replaced before the permanent adult teeth come in, or else there will be a gap between this tooth and its neighbor. A new amalgam filling costs less than replacing the whole tooth, so parents usually opt for this choice when their kids have cavities that need fixing.
- Composite fillings: Composite fillings are made out of plastic material mixed with glass particles. This type of filling cannot last as long as either silver or gold because it wears down over time due to exposure to food and saliva. Therefore composite fillings are only recommended for relatively small cavities that can be filled in one sitting, as opposed to multiple smaller ones. Even though the material is not as durable as amalgam or gold, it costs just as much because of all the work that goes into shaping it to fit the mold of your tooth.
- Silver fillings: Silver fillings (ie: "silver streaks") are tiny silver wire filaments mixed with a paste and applied directly onto a cavity on your tooth's surface like paint on a wall. This type of filling is inexpensive and painless because there is no drilling involved; however, these fillings wear out fast and must be replaced frequently throughout life if they are used at all due to their low durability. This type of filling is usually only used on the front teeth because these are the easiest to access, also making it a good choice for adults who can't afford regular dental care.
- White fillings: White fillings are made out of tooth-colored resin and mixed with bacteria-fighting chemicals such as fluoride or chlorhexidine (which is what you commonly see on the labels of tartar control toothpaste). These fillings protect any exposed dentin from further decay while also preventing bacteria build up on your tooth's surface, which could cause more damage down the road if left untreated. The downside to these fillings is that they cost less than gold but more than silver, so this procedure tends to be saved for cavities in the back teeth.
Effects of cavity filling
Effects of cavity fillings are not harmful, but if the filling is done wrongly, it may become harmful. General warning signs to look out for indicating a bad cavity filling is:
- Change in temperature sensitivity of the tooth or surrounding teeth.
- Filling becomes loose and has to be re-fixed by your dentist more than once.
- Tooth pain and tenderness, which persists after you put food on it and after it gets cold again (a sign that the nerve got damaged due to over-filling).
- Front tooth darkening or yellowing of the tooth enamel (a sign of an improperly mixed filling showing through)
- Bad breath coming from your mouth all the time (if this happens, tell your dentist immediately because there might be bacteria inside the filling causing decay, and that needs to be fixed as soon as possible).
Treatment before Fillings:
- Keep your teeth free from plaque by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day
- Control your weight - obese people have a higher risk for decay, so lose some pounds to help protect yourself from cavity formation!
- Visit a dentist on a regular basis for checkups and cleanings, as this will necessitate any treatment being taken care of immediately rather than later when you have multiple cavities to fix at once which might cost you more money in the long run since they are harder to treat.
The procedure of cavity filling
The following procedure is to be followed when a cavity filling is required:
- The dentist will remove any decay from the tooth with a drill or air abrasion tool until a smooth surface is obtained in order for a proper seal of the filling material can be achieved against the cavity's walls.
- A cotton roll soaked in anesthetic will be held on your cheek to numb up your gums and mucous membrane so that you don't feel any pain during treatment.
- An opening will then be made in your gum tissue just outside of where this procedure is being done so that access to the tooth is easier - this small incision usually closes on its own within several days after treatment.
- A small opening in your tooth will be made in order to remove the decayed tissue and a cavity filling will be inserted.
- After the procedure is finished, a cotton roll soaked in anesthetic will be placed on your gum tissue to numb up the area.
Treatment after fillings:
- Keep up with the dental hygiene regimen you should have been following before the filling!
- Brush at least twice a day and floss once a day - if you are not doing this already, then start now!
- Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings so that they can keep an eye on any upcoming cavities or decay that might be starting.
Will the cavity filling hurt?
Yes, it will hurt for a few seconds as you might feel pressure once the Novocaine has been applied as the dentist prepares to make the incision into your gum tissue and tooth enamel. You should start feeling numb within 1-2 minutes after, which should be enough time for them to do their procedure. If it is still hurting 15 minutes later you should ask for more anesthetic because if it is painless treatment then that might indicate a dental emergency!
How long does the cavity filling take?
It takes about 10 minutes total, minus your time spent numbed up beforehand. Since this process varies from person to person though depending on where the cavity is located and how big it is, that could affect the length of time required for this procedure.
Can I have a cavity filling while pregnant?
Yes, unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from getting a cavity filling, then it should be safe to do so as long as you ask your dentist first about it! If there are risks involved in having one though, then they will let you know what those might be and if they apply to your case or not.
Cavity fillings are a quick and simple procedure to fix up any cavities you might be dealing with. It will usually take about 10 minutes at the most, so it isn't too bad of a process to go through. Since it is quick and only requires you to deal with minimal amounts of pain or discomfort, you should be able to get this done without too much stress on your part.
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