Most of us may be practically familiar with the problem of tooth decay. The problem is often more common among the ageing population. Most of us visit the dentist for the first time to address our problem of tooth decay. But the severity of the decay varies among people based on different factors. While some people may be more vulnerable to tooth decay because of genetic factors, more often than not, our eating habits often determine the severity of the decay.
For treating the problems caused by tooth decay, dental restoration is one of the most common treatment methods in practice. It’s a method where the areas in tooth that are damaged by decay are filled with certain materials known as dental fillings.
The Process of Dental Restoration
Dental restoration is done to restore the functionality and shape of the damaged and decaying tooth. The process also helps to prevent the problem of tooth decay from being further aggravated. For filling the damaged area, first your dentist observes the area damaged by decay.
After assessing the proper solution the dentist puts local anesthetic near the affected tooth with an injection to ensure that the patients don’t feel pain during the restoration process. The dentist then uses a certain machine such as a drill, an air abrasion instrument, or laser to completely remove the decayed area of the damaged tooth. The dentist then further prepares the tooth for filling by cleaning the tooth cavity of any remaining bacteria or external material. Finally, the dentist fills in the damaged area with the material of your choice. After that, the dentist removes the excessive material and polishes the filling area.
The Materials Used for Dental Filling
As a patient, you can choose from a variety of materials for your dental filling. Whether your priority is durability, budget or aesthetics, you have different materials to choose from. The most commonly used dental filling materials are the following.
1. Gold filling:
This filling is done with gold and is the most durable and expensive filling. It doesn’t match the tooth’s natural color.
2. Amalgam (silver) filling:
This filling is done by applying silver and is very durable. But the use of small traces of mercury in the filling may cause prolonged side-effects. So much so, that some countries like Norway have banned the use of silver as a dental filling.
3. Composite (plastic) filling:
Composite filling is done by applying special plastic composite that matches the natural color of the tooth. This is relatively cheaper to apply, but is also the least durable of fillings.
4. Ceramic filling:
Ceramic filling is made with the combination of porcelain and specific metallic compounds. This is one of the most durable and expensive filling materials and it even gives a natural appearance to the tooth.
In severe cases of tooth decay, only dental filling may not be enough. However, a pro-active approach to addressing your tooth decay problem can save you money and pain than more expensive treatments like root canal treatment. Take your oral hygiene issues seriously and do make regular, periodic visits to the dentist.