What is a Dental Filling?

What is a dental filling? A dental filling is a restoration used to fill a hole in a tooth that has been caused by tooth decay. The dentist will remove the decayed material and then fill the resulting cavity.

Fillings are one of the most common procedures performed by dentists today. But fillings have a long and interesting history that stretches back thousands of years. The first dental filling materials were substances like beeswax and wood. In the Middle Ages, metal fillings became popular as they were more durable and less likely to fall out.

However, metal fillings also had their drawbacks, as they could cause teeth to become discoloured. In the early 20th century, dentists began experimenting with different materials, including porcelain and glass.

Today, modern dental fillings are made from various materials, each with advantages and disadvantages.

Common Types of Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are usually very successful in restoring the function and appearance of teeth and preventing further tooth decay. There are several different filling materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Dental amalgam fillings are made from metals, including mercury, silver, copper, and tin. They are strong and durable, making them suitable for large cavities. However, amalgam fillings are also noticeable, and they may cause a slight change in the colour of your teeth.
  • Composite resin fillings are made from a blend of glass or quartz particles and plastic resin. Your dentist can match them to the colour of your teeth, so they are less noticeable than an amalgam filling. However, composite fillings may not be as durable as amalgam fillings and may need replacing more often.
  • Gold fillings and porcelain inlays are two other options for dental fillings. Gold foil is strong and durable but is also expensive. Porcelain inlays are less noticeable than other dental fillings but can also be quite pricey.

Ultimately, the filling material you choose should match your budget and aesthetic preferences.

Uses of Dental Filling

There are many reasons why you might need a dental filling. One of the most common is decay, which happens when plaque and bacteria build up on your teeth. This can lead to a cavity, a small hole in your tooth. To prevent the cavity from getting larger, your dentist will remove the decay and fill the space with a dental filling.

In addition to decay, fillings can also repair cracks, fractures, or chips in your teeth. So whether you’re dealing with a small cavity or a bigger problem, a filling can help get you back on track. Your tooth structure remains intact, you can avoid pain, and your smile will look great.

Sometimes dentists do temporary fillings to give the tooth time to heal before doing a permanent filling. In other cases, such as a cracked tooth, dentists may fix the problem with a crown instead of a filling.

The Dental Filling Procedure

If you think you might need a dental filling, the first step is to schedule an appointment with your dentist. They will examine your mouth for signs of decayed teeth.

The first step in the dental filling procedure is to remove the decayed material from the tooth structure with a drill or an air abrasion machine. After removing the decayed material, your dentist will place the new filling and then polish it to match the rest of your tooth surface. The whole process takes about an hour to complete.

Fillings usually last for several years before they need replacing. In some cases, however, fillings may need to be replaced sooner if they become loose, chipped, or cracked. Cracked fillings can also allow new decay to form under the filling.

When recovering from a filling, you may experience sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. This is normal and should go away within a few days. If the sensitivity persists, contact your dentist.

If you have a filling, it is essential to take good care of your teeth and avoid foods that can damage the filling or cause it to become loose.

It is also important to practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly to ensure that your teeth remain healthy and avoid needing emergency dental treatment.

Most dental insurance plans cover the cost of dental fillings, though some restrictions may exist. For example, some plans might cover amalgam fillings and not composite resin material fillings. It’s important to check with your insurance provider to see what your plan covers.

Filled In About Fillings

Fillings are a common and successful way to restore the function and appearance of teeth. There are several types of fillings, each with advantages and disadvantages. 

If you think you may need a filling, it’s essential to schedule an appointment with your dentist right away. The sooner the problem is addressed, the better.

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