Dental Fillings are a very common solution for filling a cavity or other damage to teeth, such as a chipped tooth. Cavities are holes in your teeth which are caused by tooth decay, and can get bigger over time, which means that the sooner they are spotted and filled, the less likely you will experience problems from it later.
Fillings can be a great solution for people of all ages, even young children, and can last for a very long time with proper oral care and routines. Materials used for fillings can include gold, porcelain, composite resin, and amalgam fillings.
At Beaulieu Dental, we offer Fillings from £110.
What are Dental Fillings?
Dental Fillings can repair cavities or damages in your teeth, which can affect people of all ages, helping to restore teeth back to their normal function and shape. Our dentists will remove the decayed portion of your tooth, and then fill the area with the most suitable material.
By closing off spaces where bacteria can enter and treating the cavity, fillings can prevent further decay and additional problems. Without treatment, damage to teeth, such as cavities, can lead to toothache, bad breath, infection, and even lead to the fracturing and eventual removal of a tooth.
Are Fillings for you?
Cavities and other factors can result in the need for tooth fillings and affect people of a range of ages. Most typically, dental fillings might be necessary for:
- Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is the most common reason for needing a filling due to a buildup of bacteria. Bacteria can feed on the sugars and starches left on teeth from food and drink, which can cause plaque to form without proper oral care. The acids present in plaque then soften and dissolve the enamel on the teeth, which can cause tiny holes and lead to decay.
- Acid Erosion
Acids present in certain foods and drinks can also wear away at the enamel coating on the teeth, leading to damage and erosion.
Injury or eating something very hard could result in sharp, broken, or chipped teeth. This can expose the inner parts of the tooth, and lead to erosion.
- Abrasion and Attrition
Abrasion and attrition can be caused by brushing too aggressively or by grinding teeth together, leading to the teeth becoming worn.
If you are suffering from any of these conditions, then your dentist might recommend Fillings to be a viable solution for you.
What are the Benefits of Fillings?
There are a variety of reasons as to why fillings could be beneficial for the condition of your teeth. These include:
- Fillings halt the progression of tooth decay
- Fillings act as a barrier against harmful bacteria
- FIllings preserve most of the tooth structure, removing only the damaged areas
- Fillings can usually be fitted during a single appointment
- Fillings are an inexpensive solution compared to Dental Crowns
- Fillings can last for several years
What are the Different Types of Fillings?
There are several dental fillings available to patients, and the type of treatment will depend on how much damage there is and which teeth have been affected. Fillings can be made either from gold, porcelain, silver amalgam, or tooth-coloured, plastic, and materials called composite resin fillings. The location and extent of the decay, the cost of filling material, and your dentist’s recommendation assist in determining the type of filling that is best for you.
Amalgam fillings are traditional silver-coloured fillings which consist of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper. With good oral hygiene, amalgam fillings can last for up to 20 years and are hard-wearing, making them ideal for fillings in your back teeth.
Composite fillings are specialist fillings which can be matched closely to the colour of your teeth. Providing a natural look, composite fillings are great for teeth which are visible when you smile. They are also micro-mechanically bonded to the tooth structure, providing further support while being a versatile solution for chipped, broken, or worn teeth in addition to decay.
Inlays and Overlays
Inlays and Overlays are two types of indirect fillings, which are like composite or tooth-coloured fillings except for being made in a dental laboratory, which will require two visits before being placed. Indirect fillings may be recommended if a standard filling is not suitable for your teeth, and your dentist will recommend either inlays or overlays. As a more durable filling, they can last for up to 30 years and can be made from metal, composite, or porcelain.
Inlays fit into the hole in your tooth and is only used when the cusps of the tooth remain intact. Inlays are ideal for helping to restore teeth by rebuilding the chewing surface of the tooth.
Onlays are more extensive, as they can be used to protect the weakened tooth because they can cover the top chewing surface and distribute the forces around the tooth like a crown.
Temporary Fillings – £30
Temporary fillings are not meant to last and usually fall out, fracture, or wear out within a month. They are most commonly used in urgent cases, but can also be used under the following circumstances:
- For fillings that require more than one appointment
- Following a Root Canal Treatment
- To allow a tooth’s nerve to “settle down” if the pulp has become irritated
- If emergency dental treatment is needed (such as to address a toothache)
Book your Dental Fillings Treatment Beaulieu Dental Today!
At Beaulieu Dental, our team of dentists are highly experienced in providing fillings as solutions for damaged teeth, and they can help guide you through the process and determine which treatment would be best for you and your smile.
To learn more about Dental Fillings, or any of our other treatments, get in touch with us today. If you are searching for a local and reliable dentist in the area, then book online to come and visit it in Chelmsford.
First, the dentist will use a local aesthetic to numb the area around the tooth to be filled. Next, a drill will be used to remove the decayed area. The choice of instrument depends on the individual dentist’s comfort level, training, and investment in the particular piece of equipment as well as location and extent of the decay.
Next, your dentist will probe or test the area to determine if all the decay has been removed. Once the decay has been removed, the dentist will prepare the space for the filling by cleaning the cavity of bacteria and debris. If the decay is near the root, your dentist may first put in a liner made of glass ionomer, composite resin, or other material to protect the nerve. Generally, after the filling is in, your dentist will finish and polish it.
Several additional steps are required for tooth-coloured fillings and are as follows. After your dentist has removed the decay and cleaned the area, the tooth-coloured material is applied in layers. Next, a special light that “cures” or hardens each layer is applied. When the multilayering process is completed, the dentist will shape the composite material to the desired result, trim off any excess material, and polish the final restoration.
Today, several dental filling materials are available. Teeth can be filled with gold; porcelain; silver amalgam (which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper); or tooth-coloured, plastic, and materials called composite resin fillings. There is also a material that contains glass particles and is known as glass ionomer. This material is used in ways similar to the use of composite resin fillings.
The location and extent of the decay, cost of filling material, and your dentist’s recommendation assist in determining the type of filling best for you.
Advantages of cast gold fillings:
1. Durability — lasts at least 10 to 15 years and usually longer; doesn’t corrode
2. Strength — can withstand chewing forces
3. Aesthetics — some patients find gold more pleasing to the eye than silver amalgam fillings.
Disadvantages of cast gold fillings:
1. Expense — gold cast fillings cost more than other materials; up to 10 times higher than cost of silver amalgam fillings.
2. Additional office visits — requires at least two office visits to place
3. Galvanic shock — a gold filling placed immediately next to a silver amalgam filling may cause a sharp pain (galvanic shock) to occur. The interaction between the metals and saliva causes an electric current to occur. It is a rare occurrence, however.
4. Aesthetics — most patients dislike metal “coloured” fillings and prefer fillings that match the rest of the tooth.
Advantages of silver fillings:
1. Durability — silver fillings last at least 10 to 15 years and usually outlasts composite (tooth-coloured) fillings.
2. Strength — can withstand chewing forces
3. Expense — may be less expensive than composite fillings
Disadvantages of silver fillings:
1. Poor aesthetics — silver fillings do not match the colour of natural teeth.
2. Destruction of more tooth structure — healthy parts of the tooth must often be removed to make a space large enough to hold the amalgam filling.
3. Discoloration — amalgam fillings can create a greyish hue to the surrounding tooth structure.
4. Cracks and fractures — although all teeth expand and contract in the presence of hot and cold liquids, which ultimately can cause the tooth to crack or fracture, amalgam material — in comparison with other filling materials — may experience a wider degree of expansion and contraction and lead to a higher incidence of cracks and fractures.
5. Allergic reactions — a small percentage of people, approximately 1%, are allergic to the mercury present in amalgam restorations.
The mercury contained in the amalgam releases low levels of mercury in the form of a vapor that can be inhaled and absorbed by the lungs. High levels of mercury vapor exposure are associated with adverse effects in the brain and the kidneys. Studies have found no link between the amalgam fillings and health problems and the FDA considers them safe for adults and children ages 6 and above.
Advantages of composites:
1. Aesthetics — the shade/colour of the composite fillings can be closely matched to the colour of existing teeth. Composites are particularly well suited for use in front teeth or visible parts of teeth.
2. Bonding to tooth structure — composite fillings micro-mechanically bond to tooth structure, providing further support.
3. Versatility — in addition to use as a filling material for decay, composite fillings can also be used to repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth.
4. Tooth-sparing preparation — sometimes less tooth structure needs to be removed compared with amalgam fillings when removing decay and preparing for the filling.
Disadvantages of composites:
1. Lack of durability — composite fillings wear out sooner than amalgam fillings (lasting at least five years compared with at least 10 to 15 for amalgams); in addition, they may not last as long as amalgam fillings under the pressure of chewing and particularly if used for large cavities.
2. Increased chair time — because of the process to apply the composite material, these fillings can take up to 20 minutes longer than amalgam fillings to place.
3. Additional visits — if composites are used for inlays or onlays, more than one office visit may be required.
4. Chipping — depending on location, composite materials can chip off the tooth.
5. Expense — composite fillings can cost up to twice the cost of amalgam fillings.
In addition to tooth-coloured, composite resin fillings, two other tooth-coloured fillings exist — ceramics and glass ionomer.
- Ceramics. These fillings are made most often of porcelain and are more resistant to staining than composite resin material. This material generally lasts more than 15 years and can cost as much as gold.
- Glass ionomer is made of acrylic and a specific type of glass material. This material is most commonly used for fillings below the gum line and for fillings in young children (drilling is still required). Glass ionomers release fluoride, which can help protect the tooth from further decay. However, this material is weaker than composite resin and is more susceptible to wear and prone to fracture. Glass ionomer generally lasts five years or less with costs comparable to composite resin. The newest ones have an even better lifespan and, when placed in appropriate areas. are equal to composites.
Indirect fillings are like composite or tooth-coloured fillings except they are made in a dental laboratory and require two visits before being placed. Indirect fillings are considered when not enough tooth structure remains to support a filling but the tooth is not so severely damaged that it needs a crown.
During the first visit, decay or an old filling is removed. An impression is taken to record the shape of the tooth being repaired and the teeth around it. The impression is sent to a dental lab that will make the indirect filling. A temporary filling (described below) is placed to protect the tooth while the restoration is being made. During the second visit, the temporary filling is removed, and the dentist will check the fit of the indirect restoration. Provided the fit is acceptable, it will be permanently cemented into place.
There are two types of indirect fillings — inlays and onlays:
Inlays are similar to fillings but the entire work lies within the cusps (bumps) on the chewing surface of the tooth.
Onlays are more extensive than inlays, covering one or more cusps. Onlays are sometimes called partial crowns.
Inlays and onlays are more durable and last much longer than traditional fillings — up to 30 years. They can be made of tooth-coloured composite resin, porcelain, or gold. An onlay can be used to protect a weakened tooth because it can cover the top chewing surface and distribute the forces around the tooth like a crown.
Another type of inlay and onlay — direct inlays and onlays — follow similar processes and procedures as the indirect, but the direct is made in the mouth and can be placed in one visit. The type of inlay or onlay used depends on how much sound tooth structure remains and consideration of any cosmetic concerns.
Temporary fillings are used under the following circumstances:
1. For fillings that require more than one appointment — for example, before placement of gold fillings and for certain filling procedures (called indirect fillings) that use composite materials
2. Following a root canal
3. To allow a tooth’s nerve to “settle down” if the pulp became irritated
4. If emergency dental treatment is needed (such as to address a toothache)
Temporary fillings are just that; they are not meant to last. They usually fall out, fracture, or wear out within a month. Be sure to contact your dentist to have a temporary filling replaced with a permanent one. If you don’t, the tooth could become infected or you could have other complications.
Over the past several years, concerns have been raised about silver-coloured fillings, otherwise called amalgam fillings. Because these fillings contain the toxic substance mercury, some people think they are responsible for causing a number of diseases, including autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
The American Dental Association (ADA), the FDA, and numerous public health agencies say there’s no proof that dental fillings cause harm to consumers. The causes of autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis remain unknown. Additionally, there is no solid scientific evidence to back up the claim that if a person has amalgam fillings removed, he or she will be cured of these or any other diseases.
Although amalgams do contain mercury, when they are mixed with other metals, such as silver, copper, tin, and zinc, they form a stable alloy that dentists have used for more than 100 years to fill and preserve hundreds of millions of decayed teeth.
If you are pregnant, your dentist will most likely advise against an amalgam filling, but they can discuss this further with you.
Tooth Pain and Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity following placement of a filling is common. A tooth may be sensitive to pressure, air, sweet foods, or temperature. Usually, the sensitivity resolves on its own within a few weeks. During this time, avoid those things that are causing the sensitivity. Pain relievers are generally not required.
Contact your dentist if the sensitivity does not subside within two to four weeks or if your tooth is extremely sensitive. He or she may recommend a desensitizing toothpaste, may apply a desensitizing agent to the tooth, or possibly suggest a root canal procedure.
Pain around the fillings can also occur. If you experience pain when you bite, the filling may be interfering with your bite. You will need to return to your dentist and have the filling reshaped. If you experience pain when your teeth touch, the pain is likely caused by the touching of two different metal surfaces (for example, the silver amalgam in a newly filled tooth and a gold crown on another tooth with which it touches). This pain should resolve on its own within a short period of time.
If the decay was very deep or close to the pulp of the tooth, you may experience a “toothache-type” pain. This “toothache” response may indicate this tissue is no longer healthy. If this is the case, root canal therapy may be required.
Sometimes people experience what is known as referred pain, this is pain or sensitivity in other teeth besides the one that received the filling. With this particular pain, there is likely nothing wrong with your teeth. The filled tooth is simply passing along “pain signals” it’s receiving to other teeth. This pain should decrease on its own over 1 to 2 weeks.
Constant pressure from chewing, grinding, or clenching can cause dental fillings to wear away, chip, or crack. Although you may not be able to tell that a filling is wearing down, your dentist can identify weaknesses in them during a regular check-up.
If the seal between the tooth enamel and the filling breaks down, food particles and decay-causing bacteria can work their way under the filling. You then run the risk of developing additional decay in that tooth. Decay that is left untreated can progress to infect the dental pulp and may cause an abscessed tooth.
If the filling is large or the recurrent decay is extensive, there may not be enough tooth structure remaining to support a replacement filling. In these cases, your dentist may need to replace the filling with a crown.
New fillings that fall out may be the result of improper cavity preparation, contamination before the filling is placed, or a fracture of the filling from a bite or chewing trauma. Older restorations will generally be lost due to decay or fracturing of the remaining tooth.
Firstly, your dentist will need to examine and then remove the decayed area within the tooth, before the filling can be placed. Your dentist will offer you the option of having the area numbed first, with the use of anaesthetic.
Once the decay has been removed, your dentist will shape, clean, and dry the remaining tooth so that it can take the filling best suited to your tooth’s condition. Once the filling is in, your dentist will finish and polish it. For more specialist fillings, such as tooth-coloured resins, there may be additional steps involved which will require the use of a temporary filling.
To maintain your fillings, you should follow good oral hygiene practices. This includes:
- Visiting your dentist for regular cleanings
- Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day
- Flossing and using an antibacterial mouthwash at least once, daily
If your dentist suspects that a filling might be cracked or is “leaking”, they will take X-Rays to assess the situation. If your tooth is extremely sensitive, if you feel a sharp edge, if you notice a crack in the filling, or if a piece of the filling is missing, be sure to call your dentist for an appointment.
Allergic reactions to silver fillings are rare. Fewer than 100 cases have ever been reported, according to the ADA. In these rare circumstances, mercury or one of the metals used in an amalgam restoration is thought to trigger an allergic response.
Symptoms of amalgam allergy are like those experienced in a typical skin allergy and include skin rashes and itching. Patients who suffer amalgam allergies typically have a medical or family history of allergies to metals. Once an allergy is confirmed, another restorative material can be used.