What Are Dental Fillings Used For?
The filling or placement of a dental filling consists of eliminating the cavities, cleaning the cavity that it leaves, and filling it with some artificial material.
This procedure is done when the damage has not yet reached the innermost layer pulp of the teeth. If it does, a different treatment – Root canal treatment should be advocated.
In this way, we understand that the most frequent use of fillings is to treat cavities. However, there are other reasons why it can be used. For example, when there is a dental fracture to repair the piece.
Once fillings are in place, they require some care as they can weaken; thus creating fissures and gaps that allow bacteria to lodge in the most delicate areas.
Depending on the type of dental filling treatment that is applied, it will last more or less time. But it will always be necessary to visit the dentist to check its status.
A professional will also tell you how to care for your fillings, so they last longer without discoloration or cracking.
Innovations in Dental fillings
There are several types of dental fillings. The ones used the most years ago were amalgams that are silver in color due to their metallic components. Little by little, these have become obsolete to give way to other materials, among which we highlight:
- Composite resin: they imitate the color of the teeth, and for this reason, they are the most used today. Our dentists recommend they replace old fillings.
- Porcelain: This type of material is even more durable than composite resin. They also look very natural, and they are durable. However, they are mostly indicated for veneers.
- Inlays/ Onlays: these are special fillings, usually made of porcelain. A good result is achieved, and maintenance is minimal.
- Vitreous Ionomer: It is one of the newest materials and is ideal for filling cavities left by advanced cavities.
Why Do Dental Fillings Change Color?
Fillings and teeth can change color over time if we do not take proper care of them. In addition, it is common for old fillings, those that may have been placed during our childhood, have deteriorated and required repair. Or a replacement for other more innovative, as well as aesthetic.
One of the most common reasons why teeth and fillings change color is food. The consumption of certain products is capable of causing darkening spots.
For example, acidic food and carbonated beverages are some foods that we must limit for optimal dental health.
Poor hygiene is another common cause of color change. Hence the importance of a good brushing after meals to prevent the filling from losing its properties.
Other reasons are blows, which can cause darkening of the tooth and bad habits such as smoking.
The type of filling can also cause a color change, especially when amalgam is used since its silver color causes discoloration after a few years.
The discoloration is not always the patient’s fault, but the quality of the filling can leave a lot to be desired. In any case, it is best to go to the dentist for an evaluation of the filling material. This will determine if it is damaged or if it is still safe to use.
Other Common Problems In Fillings
In addition to the loss of color in the teeth, other problems can occur in fillings:
- Wear: over the years, the material loses its properties and deteriorates. With regular visits to the dentist, the best time to replace them can be identified.
- Detached fillings: it can occur for two reasons: problems when placing the filling or the pressure it receives after placing it.
- Fissures and Cracks: It happens most often when the filling is placed on the chewing surface. The pressure to which it is subjected can cause it to break and require replacement.
When To Change Old Fillings?
A fissure in a filling can cause bacteria to accumulate inside and cause a cavity that will be imperceptible to the patient. Therefore, regular dental visits are necessary.
You don’t have to wait to see the problem or feel any pain in your mouth to go to the dentist. Many of the ailments we will not be able to identify until it is too late. But a professional dentist will be able to do it, offering us a treatment from the first moment.
In any case, if you are in any of these situations, you should go to the dentist to determine if you should change the filling:
- You have tooth sensitivity.
- You can see a crack in the filling, or it has broken.
How Much Do Dental Fillings Cost?
Cavity filling charges can vary depending on the type of filling material used, and the size and extension of the cavity, the amount of work required. The average dental filling costs are lower with amalgam than with white tooth fillings.
A dental filling also known as dental restorations can be of various types based on the type of cavity (class I- class V) and type of materials used ( composites, Glass Ionomer cements, silver amalgam, etc). A filling costs about ₹ 500- 2K based on the above-mentioned type of materials and cavity type, it may also vary based on city, clinic, area, practice & dentist’s experience.
Maintenance of Dental fillings
After the obturation, you must take certain measures to extend its lifetime. We already mentioned that brushing is important. This should be done at least twice a day and include rinsing and dental floss in the cleaning routine.
Avoid smoking with a filling, especially at the time of placement. It is recommended to suspend the consumption of cigarettes and other products that contain tobacco and alcohol.
Dr. Shiva Sankar is the Clinical Director and Orthodontist at Sakti Dental Clinic, Tirunelveli with over 18+ years of experience in dentistry. He is also a Professor in the Department of Orthodontics, Rajas Dental College affiliated to, Dr.MGR Medical University. Dr. Shiva Sankar frequently publishes research papers in leading scientific national and international journals.