According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, “92% of the adults belonging in the age group of 20-64 years, have cavities in their permanent teeth”. This is what calls for the need for a dental filling. Before you dive into the facts related to a dental filling, consider a few of the following answers to some commonly asked questions on the concept.
What is it?
Your dentist simply removes the decayed part of your teeth and fills the area with appropriate metal or non-metal material.
Does it Hurt?
It does hurt, but just a little bit! Patients have reported that the pain is absolutely tolerable. It is not one of those experiences to make you groan!
When to Consider One?
If you clearly have visible cavities in your tooth/teeth, you must immediately consider one. Besides, if your dentist thinks appropriate, he/she might also recommend you to get one.
Is it High Maintenance?
A dental filling does require some post-care. However, it is nothing compared to that of an implant or a root canal.
Which Filling Material to Choose?
Gold cast is the most popular choice for dental fillings. However, if you value aesthetics over durability, go for ceramics! Your choice also depends on the recommendation of the dentist, and the cost that you are willing to consider for the material.
Now that you have a clearer idea about the concept, here are the five crucial things you should know before getting a dental filling:
1. Fillings are Temporary
If you were expecting a filling that would last forever, such advancements have not arrived yet! However, fillings are expected to last over a decade. So, you need not worry about their cost effectiveness!
2. Severe Cavities Require more than Just Fillings
Dental fillings are only meant to heal comparatively minor visible cavities. To be precise, they are meant for small cavities that have surfaced on the teeth and has not deeply penetrated the pulp.
In case of a bigger cavity, you might as well require a dental crown. This is because the cavity would have become so big that a major part of the tooth would have to be removed. This makes lesser sense than getting a new crown altogether!
If the cavity has penetrated too deep, your dentist is likely to inspect whether it has found its way into the pulp. In that case, you are likely to receive a root canal treatment. You must report the amount of pain that you are experiencing from the cavity, to prompt your dentist to inspect further.
3. You may get an Indirect Filling if you do not have Sufficient Tooth Structure
Indirect fillings are given to patients who do not have sufficient tooth structure to support a filling, and neither is the cavity too big for them to get a crown.
How does it work?
It consists of 2 visits. During the first visit, the dentist will remove the cavity-stricken part of the tooth, and send the impression of it to the dental lab.
Until then, a temporary filling would be placed on your tooth.
By the time of your second visit, a filling, shaped as per the impression, would be created, and fitted into your tooth.
4. Fillings can Look Perfectly Natural
Prior to the advent of ceramics as a viable material for dental fillings, a dental filling used to look unnatural, due to the color mismatch with the rest of the teeth. However, now you can get perfectly natural-looking fillings. Although gold casts or silver could also attempt at duplicating your natural teeth color, ceramics do it much better. However, they do not have a long durability.
5. Cavities can Still Occur, Post Filling
Fillings do tend to crack.
They are not as strong as implants and are susceptible to chewing and grinding.
Bacteria from your mouth could enter through those cracks and form cavities underneath.
And, you’re good to go! If you are indeed considering a dental filling, you pretty much know everything you need to for a starter, to prep you up! In case you are a little bit confused regarding the type of material you would prefer for your filling, this article by Oral Health Foundation might help you decide!