Research has shown that cavities are seen in children and adults alike, untreated tooth decay leads the list in oral diseases round the globe. 60-90% of children and almost 95% or more of adults have tooth decay. Decay is seen in primary teeth as well as permanent teeth. Tooth decay often starts as cavities when the outer enamel gets eroded.
Food consumed stays in the mouth and teeth and they bring about bacterial action. Sugary food and drinks contribute to this more than other types of food. The sugar when acted on by the bacteria releases acid which removes the protective cover of the teeth. Weaker areas in the teeth then will see cavity formation in them.
Dental procedures are done to preserve the teeth. Extraction of teeth is done only when the decay is extensive and the teeth cannot be saved anymore. In the procedure, the dentist will remove the upper portion of the teeth. Through this opening they will clean out all the decay that is there in the inner pulp cavity of the teeth. Thorough cleaning of the interior of the teeth is done to remove the decayed portion. This area is then filled with dental fillings and the hardened using a special light to harden the filling. The teeth are saved from further damage and can function as before.
A wide variety of fillings are available to choose from. Materials are chosen depending on the oral health, the position of the teeth, the extent of decay and also the cost. Dentists will conduct an oral examination to determine which type of filling will be suited.
Metal fillings are commonly used due to their durable nature. Gold fillings have been used by many, they easily last up to 10 plus years or more. They do not corrode and as they are sturdy they can withstand the strength of the chewing. It is expensive because of the metal used. It might require a few visits to the dentist. Some prefer this filling due to the metal used in the procedure.
Another type of metal amalgam filling that is commonly used is silver fillings. Many prefer this type of filling, as they do not like the gold coloured filling. As a metal filling similar to gold, this can also withstand strength and is durable and often lasts longer than other types of fillings. When silver is chosen as the filling, dentists will need to remove healthy portions of the teeth to make space to hold this metal. Some experience a differ colour to the neighbouring teeth due to this silver amalgam filling. As it does not go along with the natural colour of the teeth, some reject it due to anaesthetics. It does not however cost as much as gold amalgam fillings.
Tooth coloured fillings that is the advantage of having composite fillings. They match the colour of the natural teeth and are usually preferred when filling is to be done to the front or visible part of the teeth. They bond well to the teeth structure when applied and are cured using light to stay hardened on the teeth. They cost more than amalgam fillings. They are also less durable than other fillings as they are not made of sturdy materials like metal fillings. As they are less durable, they might need to be replaced. Extensive force or pressure on the teeth can lead to chipping off the composite filling.
Glass ionomer fillings
These types of fillings are usually recommended for children who still have teeth to fall off. The reasons are varied – this dental filling has a short life span, less than five years or so. Children have milk teeth falling off and permanent teeth taking the place, some they can use fillings that have a short life span. Besides this, another feature is fluoride. This filling produces fluoride another the cavity, thus offering extra protection to the teeth. Fluoride helps to fight away infection as well. That is one of the biggest advantages of using glass ionomer filling especially for children. This is applied as a tight paste on the cavity and offers protection from the outer environment. Teeth are sealed off from further decay due to this filling. When compared with composite filling this is less sturdy and also is not the exact colour of the natural teeth.
Ceramic dental fillings are the most expensive of the different type of fillings. The main reason is the aesthetic value it provides and they are also long lasting. Compared with other fillings, ceramic filling offers high abrasive quality and also resists staining besides being similar in colour to natural teeth. It does not need to be replaced as composite filling as they are stronger, but that does not rule out them being brittle. Ceramic dental restorations are generally called Inlays and Onlays depending on where they are used. On the teeth as a protective layer or in between the teeth to cover the gap between the teeth.
Caring for dental fillings will help to make sure they last long. Brushing and cleaning of teeth should be done as before. This helps to make sure food debris does not stay on the tooth surface.
Reducing sugary food, opting for healthier options of food can help keep the teeth and filling safer for a longer time. Besides this, reducing food or products like tobacco that stain teeth can also help promote longer lasting teeth.
When consuming hot or cold food if teeth sensitivity is felt, it can be a chance of crack in the filling. It is highly recommended that this concern is checked with the dentist. Sometimes while eating, one can feel a roughness on the teeth – this can also be another sign that there is a crack or break in the tooth filling. When unsure, do not ignore the symptom check it with the dentist as soon as possible.