A filling is the repair work performed to replace the missing part of the tooth that was damaged by caries or a fracture, when the damage is no greater than ½ of the tooth diameter. With the filling, the doctor remodels and fills the gap created in the tooth. The material used today is usually composite resin.
What is caries?
Caries is the most common dental disease. It is the result of the action of the microbial plaque that resides on the surface of the teeth, together with food residues. It first appears as a white spot on the surface of the enamel (starting caries). No intervention is needed at this stage because the disease may be suspended. When the caries progresses and affects dentin, its progression cannot be suspended in the inner layer of the tooth, and it gradually forms a hole. If it is in its early stages it can be completely sealed. If not diagnosed in a timely manner, endodontic treatment may be needed if the pulp is affected and/or a crown or only is used to restore the tooth. That is why it is important that radiographs are taken every 2-3 years as a precaution to detect these problems at an early stage.
How long does a filling last?
The duration of a filling in the mouth is determined by many factors.
- How sensitive the patient is to caries
- How extensive is the original tooth damage
- How good is the patient’s oral hygiene
- What diet the patient follows
The tooth that has received filling may develop caries again (secondary caries). This is why a visit to the dentist is necessary every 6 months for a follow-up.
What kind of fillings are there?
The materials of choice are composite resin and porcelain.
Both materials are white and can be perfectly adapted to the aesthetics of the natural tooth. Resin is more economical, it always takes place in one session but is less durable in time than porcelain, which is a material that does not wear with time, does not collect pigments but may take more than one session to construct.
The amalgam (metal) fillings are very durable and economical. They are not aesthetically pleasing, they cause cracks in the teeth over time due to the expansion of the material and they contain mercury which is poisonous. For these reasons, their use has now been restricted, and in some countries it has even been completely forbidden. Avoid use in children and pregnant or nursing mothers.
Tooth filling procedure
In the first stage, local anesthesia is administered to the tooth to be filled so that the patient is comfortable throughout the filling procedure. Caries is then removed with the aid of a drill, and the tooth is then ‘filled’ using the material of choice according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Finally, the filling is buffered, and teeth alignment at closure is restored to restore the chewing function.
Instructions after the filling
If the filling material is resin or porcelain, the patient only has to wait for the effect of the anesthesia to pass, to avoid biting their tongue or burn, in case they consume anything hot.
Complications of tooth fillings
After a deep filling, it is possible in the following hours to have some sensitivity to hot or cold, which is normal and can sometimes last up to 2-3 months. In any case, please tell your dentist.
Pregnancy and fillings.
During pregnancy it is permitted to have fillings and local anesthesia.
Avoid amalgam and radiographs during the first trimester.
Cost of a filling
The cost of a filling is determined by the material selected and the severity of the problem.