Tooth Fillings

A tooth filling is one of the most common procedures that take place in the dental clinic. Most people will need at least one tooth filling in their lifetime, so there’s no need to worry! Keep reading to learn more about this type of treatment.

1. How do you know if you need a dental filling?

People of all ages, even young children, may need a tooth filling. Perhaps you have a nagging toothache, sudden pain when you bite down, or sensitivity to hot and cold. You may even have noticed a hole in your tooth, or food getting trapped.

Patient has toothache

2. Why do you need a tooth filling?

A tooth filling is a treatment to re-establish a damaged tooth back to normal. Some conditions that may need a filling include:

  • Tooth decay: Tooth decay is the most common cause of fillings. Plaque forms when bacteria feed on the sugars and starches left on your teeth by food or drink. The plaque softens and wears away the enamel on your tooth, causing tiny holes, which then grow bigger.
  • Replace an old filling: Although a tooth filling will last for several years, it doesn’t last forever. Depending on the type of materials, sometimes wear and tear can happen. To maintain the function of your tooth and prevent new decay, you may need a refill.
  • Trauma: trauma can cause a tooth to be broken, chipped, or cracked. To protect your teeth and the overall aesthetic of your smile, tooth filling is a fast and easy solution.

Before and after tooth filling

3. Types of filling?

Various materials can be used as fillings. Your dentist will usually advise you which is suitable for you. 

  • Amalgam fillings: amalgam (or silver) fillings are the most widely known type. It is a mixture of minerals that’s 50 percent silver, tin, zinc, copper, and 50 percent mercury. Amalgam fillings are a popular choice because they are strong, durable, and don’t cost a lot. The typical silver amalgam filling can last 10-15 years. However, amalgam fillings have disadvantages. They are not aesthetically pleasing and the material also can expand and contract over time, causing a tooth to crack. 
  • Composite fillings: composite resins have become more popular because they look natural and match the color of your teeth. A composite filling is made of resin and plastic material. The material is placed into the cavity while it is soft, then cured with bright blue light. Composite fillings have a few disadvantages, such as the material being less durable and only suitable for small fillings. Furthermore, they can become stained over time just like natural teeth.
  • SonicFill fillings: SonicFill fillings are more advanced compared to regular composite fillings. While still using the same composite material, instead of using blue light, sonic activation is used to cure the filling. This new technology allows dentists to perform quicker during treatment. At the same time, minimize shrinkage of the material and reduce sensitivity better than regular composite fillings.
  • GIC fillings: GIC (Glass Ionomer Cement) fillings are suitable for children whose teeth are still changing. They release ​fluoride, which can help protect a tooth from further decay. However, they are less durable and more likely to crack or wear out. GIC fillings also do not match tooth color as precisely as composite resin.

Types of filling

4. What happens when you get a filling?

On average, it takes 30-40 minutes to get a dental filling. In most cases, placing a dental filling is a relatively simple and painless procedure. Steps for the procedure may vary, depending on the filling’s location and the materials used. At Elite Dental, we follow the general steps:

Step 1: Your dentist will examine your tooth to determine the suitable filling material for your condition.

Step 2: After cleaning your tooth, your dentist will apply a numbing gel to the gum. If you have a cavity, your dentist will use a drill or another specialized tool to remove the decayed area of the tooth.

Step 3: A liquid-form material is poured into the cavity to fill the hole of your tooth. Then special bonding light is used to cure the filling material. Typically, the material hardens after 40 seconds.

Step 4: The last step is to polish the filling and adjust it so that your bite feels normal.

If your cavity is too big or your natural tooth structure is too weak to survive a regular filling, your dentist may recommend you get Inlay/ Onlay. An inlay is molded to fit into the grooves of your tooth. While an onlay is larger than an inlay, it is smaller than a dental crown. Both of them are custom-made in the laboratory. They are more resistant to fractures and damage. They also provide more natural aesthetic teeth.

Elite Dental's doctor is filling a patient's tooth

Elite Dental's doctor is consulting a patient

The treatment for inlay and onlay has two phases; therefore, you would have to visit the dental clinic twice. On your first visit, after your dentist finishes cleaning your decayed or chipped tooth, a mold of the tooth will be taken. This mold helps you and your dentist decide which material to use for the inlay or onlay. Then on your second visit, the inlay or onlay is cemented into your tooth. 

5. What is it like after getting a filling?

Most fillings heal quickly without complications. After the numbing gel wears off, your tooth may feel a little sensitive, but this usually goes away in a day or so. Let your dentist know if your bite feels off or if you have any long-lasting pain or sensitivity. Your dentist may need to adjust the filling surface to improve your bite.

Here are a few tips to help your fillings last longer:

  • You should wait at least 2 hours after your dental fillings before consuming food. You should avoid hard or chewing food that can dislodge your new filling.
  • Instead of cold drinks, opt for warm ones to prevent sensitivity.
  • Brush your teeth thoroughly with a soft-bristle toothbrush.

6. Why choose Elite Dental for your tooth filling?

At Elite Dental, we understand the importance of early intervention. If you notice a cavity or an imperfection on your tooth, a dental filling is often the fastest and easiest solution. It is certainly better to fix it soon rather than delay the treatment and deal with problems later on, such as tooth loss and persistent tooth pain. 

Elite Dental's team of doctors

We pride ourselves on keeping our patients’ mouths healthy! We can make sure that your questions get answered before getting any treatment. If you think you need a filling or would like to schedule an appointment at Elite Dental, contact us today!

Related posts:
> General Dentistry
> Pediatric Dentistry
> Root Canal
> Tooth Cleaning
> Wisdom Tooth Extraction


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