About 78% of Americans have at least a case of cavity development before the age of 17, this is in accordance with the 2000 report by the US surgeon general. Those who have not experienced cases of cavities should always see their doctor. However, if you have a hole, the good news is that the ‘dental filling’ is an effective remedy to cure this condition.
As the name implies, fillings help to cover the hole in your tooth (cavity) which is as a result of decay. This step will stop the bacteria-caused decay from moving to other areas in your tooth, especially the inner pulp (nerve) tissue found at the root canal.
There is a range of options with materials that can be used for a tooth filling, even though each follows almost the same process. The doctor will administer Anesthesia before commencing the process to prevent you from feeling any discomfort during the examination. Moreover, if you have a phobia for needles, then, the use of nitrous oxide will help to relax you from undue anxiety.
The doctor needs to examine the tooth using x-ray machines so that he can ascertain the extent of the decay. Afterward, the affected area is removed with the use of a dental drill. Once he has removed it, the other tooth area is “etched” with a low acidic content coupled with the application of transparent cement that will help to bind the tooth and the material used for filling it.
Different Types of Fillings
There are two major classes of tooth filing, and each has its advantage and disadvantage. They are Metal Filling and Tooth-Colored filling.
Amalgam — This method has been employed for several years now. It consists of a couple of metals such as mercury, silver, tin, and copper, blended to give a shiny silver color. The mercury content in it provides stability and safety. Filling using metal amalgam is effective with low cost, but it can be seen easily. Moreover, this method needs a prolonged tooth drilling.
Cast Gold — Gold Cast filling involves the use of gold along with other metals to form a strong, permanent filling, but others can quickly notice it. Besides, it is quite expensive.
Composite — This option is peculiar to individuals who prefer not to show their fillings. It consists of a mix of glass and plastic and then bonded to other part of the tooth. It is quite expensive when compared to amalgam. It also has a lasting effect and does not require much tooth drilling as amalgam.
Porcelain — These are purely made of dental ceramics. They are unique in appearance (look like a life tooth) and does not stain. In most cases, it costs a lot to carry out due to the high-tech machines and specialized dental labs that we require to execute this. It is a very aesthetic filling, but the glass content can expose it to brittleness.
Glass Ionomer — This is a mixture of acrylic and glass powder. It is transparent and costs less when compared to other methods. Very flexible because it quickly assumes the tooth color and contains fluoride that helps to fight bacteria. However, it is a temporary filling method.
What can you expect after getting a filling?
You are likely not to feel the effect of the anesthesia after some hours, but during this period, you must avoid eating or drinking foods that are temperature sensitive (cold or hot). Similarly, you should not chew on the same area of the mouth where the filling took place.
You might also experience sensitivity to hot or cold food, even after a few weeks of filling, but if it persists for long, then, you should report to the doctor. It can signal some changes that need to be corrected.
Aside from that, maintain a healthy oral routine such as regular brushing and flossing and maintain a proper dental schedule with your doctor for at least two times every year. Regular checkups and cleaning is vital, and do not forget that the best way to prevent tooth problems is by keeping healthy oral hygiene.