Dental Tooth Filling Treatment in Dwarka, New Delhi
TOOTH FILLING/ RESTORATION
What is a Filling?
A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. When a dentist gives you a filling, he or she first removes the decayed tooth material, cleans the affected area, and then fills the cleaned-out cavity with a filling material. By closing off spaces where bacteria can enter, a filling also helps prevent further decay. Materials used for fillings presently include porcelain, a composite resin (tooth-coloured fillings), an amalgam (an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin and sometimes zinc) and Glass-ionomer cement, GIC (a white-colored fluoride- releasing cement, mostly preferred for children.
Which Type of Filling is the Best?
No one type of filling is best for everyone. What’s right for you will be determined by the extent of the repair, whether you have allergies to certain materials, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and the cost. Considerations for different materials include:
Amalgam (silver) fillings are resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive. However, due to the mercury released from them, they are considered a health hazard and are not so popular now-a-days. Moreover, their dark color is more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and hence they are not usually used in very visible areas, such as front teeth.
Composite (plastic) resins are matched to be the same color as your teeth and therefore used where a natural appearance is desired. The ingredients are mixed and placed directly into the cavity, where they harden. Composites may not be the ideal material for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time. They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco, and do not last as long as other types of fillings generally from three to 10 years. Sometimes; they lead to transient sensitivity due to polymerization shrinkage. They are the most commonly used restorative materials at present.
Porcelain fillings are called inlays or onlays and are produced to order in a lab and then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the color of the tooth and resist staining. A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth.
GIC can be used in small cavities in milk teeth, cervical areas; or as an alternative to composites (in cases of sensitivity due to composites). If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown, or cap, may be recommended. Decay that has reached the nerve may be treated in two ways: through root canal therapy (in which nerve damaged nerve is removed) or through a procedure called pulp capping (which attempts to keep the nerve alive).
How Do I Know if I Need a Filling?
Only your dentist can detect whether you have a cavity that needs to be filled. During a checkup, your dentist will use a small mirror to examine the surfaces of each tooth. Anything that looks abnormal will then be closely checked with special instruments. Your dentist may also X-ray your entire mouth or a section of it. The type of treatment your dentist chooses will depend on the extent of damage caused by decay.
The Filling Procedure: What to Expect
Cavities are relatively easy for dentists to fix. First, dentists may use a local anesthetic, such as lidocaine, to numb the part of the mouth they’ll be treating. This anaesthetic is injected into the gum tissue, which can cause a temporary stinging sensation. Once the area is fully numb, the dentist proceeds with the treatment. Next, the dentist will remove decay from the tooth with a dental drill or laser. After the decay has been removed, space needs to be prepared for a filling. The dentist will shape the area and, depending on the type of filling being used, may etch the tooth with an acid gel. Once the tooth has been prepared, the dentist can apply the filling material. Some filling materials need to be hardened with a special light. If you’re receiving this type of filling, your dentist will shine a bright light on your filling several times during the procedure. Finally, the dentist will polish the filling. This process smoothens the filling and removes any sharp edges that could injure your tongue or the lining of your cheeks.
How Long Does It Take to Fill a Cavity?
Since the filling is a common and relatively simple procedure, it doesn’t take very long to complete. A typical filling procedure only takes about an hour. If you have several cavities that need to be filled, your dentist may treat them over multiple visits. After receiving a filling in one of your teeth, you may experience some soreness or tooth sensitivity. This can last for hours or days after the procedure. Avoid foods and drinks that can trigger sensitivity, including very hot and cold drinks, sugary foods, and soft drinks. If the sensitivity doesn’t go away, or if the soreness gets worse, see your dentist. Some types of fillings need time to fully set. Sticky or hard foods can sometimes dislodge a new filling that hasn’t fully hardened, so don’t eat these types of foods until the filling has set. Ask your dentist how long you should wait to ensure you don’t damage your filling. Fillings may have sharp edges, even after being polished by the dentist. They might not be noticeable at first due to the anaesthetic, but they can cause discomfort once the numbness wears off. If your new filling feels sharp, tell your dentist so they can fix it.
Chewing tips after a dental filling
After you get a filling in one or more of your teeth, soreness and tooth sensitivity may persist for hours, or even days, after you leave the dentist’s office. This can make eating and drinking an uncomfortable affair. Luckily, by following some common sense chewing tips and avoiding foods that can cause trouble after fillings, you can considerably reduce discomfort:
Chew slowly and bite lightly: Biting exerts tremendous pressure on the teeth, and this can make them very sore after you get a filling. When chewing your food, take your time and try not to bite all the way through; this will prevent your teeth from making forceful contact. If possible, chew on the opposite side of the mouth from where your filling is.
Keep your mouth closed when chewing: For some people, even cold air can trigger pain in sensitive teeth. Consequently, besides being good manners, keeping your mouth closed when chewing will lessen the chance of cold air entering your mouth and causing you pain.
Skip sticky foods: Some fillings, particularly silver (amalgam) or GIC ones, take time to set after you leave the dentist's office. Eating sticky or gummy food can, in rare cases, dislodge a new filling, so it’s best to avoid them in the short term.
Avoid very hot or cold drinks: Moderate temperatures are less likely to trigger pain in sensitive teeth.
Pass on the sweets: Sugary foods and soft drinks trigger sensitivity in some and may promote bacterial growth around the edges of, or even under, a new filling.
Don’t chew nuts, hard candy, or ice: In addition to causing undue pressure on your teeth while they are still recovering, biting hard foods can dislodge a fresh filling that hasn’t yet been properly set. This is especially important for silver (amalgam) and GIC fillings, as they take longer to set than composite (tooth-colored) fillings. Always follow your dentist’s recommendations regarding chewing tips, what foods to avoid after your procedure, and how long you should wait to eat solid foods after receiving softer filling materials, such as amalgam or GIC. If your teeth remain sensitive for several weeks after a filling, or if pain increases rather than decreasing over time, consult with your dentist to explore the causes and possible solutions. Sometimes a minor and painless adjustment, such as filing down a raised area, is all that is needed to relieve the pain. In other cases, the sensitivity could be a sign of a more serious issue.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a tooth filling painful?
Tooth fillings are generally not painful. Our dentists will numb the area before the procedure to ensure your comfort.
How long does a tooth filling last?
The lifespan of a tooth filling can vary depending on factors like the type of filling material and your oral hygiene. On average, tooth-colored composite fillings can last 7-10 years or more.
Can I eat and drink immediately after getting a filling?
You can eat and drink as usual after getting a filling, as there is no waiting period. However, it’s a good idea to avoid extremely hot or cold foods for a few hours.
Are tooth-colored fillings better than silver amalgam fillings?
Tooth-colored fillings blend in with your natural teeth and are preferred for cosmetic reasons. They also bond directly to the tooth, which can help strengthen it.
Is it normal to experience sensitivity after a filling?
Some mild sensitivity after a filling is normal and should subside within a few days. If it persists or worsens, please contact our dental team for further evaluation.
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