Common Questions About Dental Fillings Answered

Dental fillings are one of the most common dental procedures performed, yet there are many questions and misconceptions surrounding them. If you’re considering getting a filling, or simply want to be more informed about oral health, this blog post is for you! We’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about dental fillings, from what they are and why they’re needed, to the different types available and how to care for them.

What are dental fillings?

Dental fillings are a type of restorative dentistry treatment used to repair cavities or damaged teeth. When decay occurs, it creates a hole or cavity in the tooth that needs to be filled to prevent further damage and pain. Fillings restore the tooth’s structure and function, and can also help to improve the appearance of your smile.

Why do I need a dental filling?

There are several reasons why you might need a dental filling, including:


    • Cavities: Cavities are the most common reason for getting fillings. They are caused by a build-up of plaque and bacteria on the teeth, which can eat away at the enamel and dentin.

    • Chipped or cracked teeth: Teeth can chip or crack due to trauma, such as biting on hard objects or grinding your teeth. Fillings can be used to repair these damage and restore the tooth’s appearance and function.

    • Worn teeth: Over time, teeth can wear down due to normal use. Fillings can be used to build up worn teeth and prevent further damage.

    • Sensitive teeth: Fillings can be used to cover exposed tooth roots, which can help to reduce sensitivity to hot and cold.

What are the different types of dental fillings?

There are several different types of dental fillings available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most common types of fillings include:


    1. Silver Amalgam:


    • Advantages: Durable and cost-effective, silver amalgam fillings have a long lifespan and can withstand the forces of chewing over time.

    • Disadvantages: Their silver color makes them easily noticeable, which can be a cosmetic concern for some patients. Additionally, the expansion and contraction of amalgam fillings in response to temperature changes may lead to tooth fractures over time.


    1. Composite Resin:


    • Advantages: Composite fillings are tooth-colored and blend well with natural teeth, making them a popular choice for visible areas. They also require less removal of healthy tooth structure during placement.

    • Disadvantages: While they offer good aesthetics, composite fillings may not last as long as amalgam fillings and are more prone to wear and staining. They may need replacement more frequently, especially in high-pressure areas of the mouth.


    1. Glass Ionomer:


    • Advantages: Glass ionomer fillings release fluoride, aiding in preventing decay. They have a tooth-colored appearance and are often used for smaller cavities or on root surfaces.

    • Disadvantages: Glass ionomer fillings are not as durable as composites, making them less suitable for larger cavities or areas exposed to significant biting forces. They may also be more prone to wear and fracture.


    1. Gold:


    • Advantages: Gold fillings are extremely durable and long-lasting. They are well-tolerated by gum tissues and exhibit minimal wear over time. Gold fillings are often preferred for back teeth where appearance is less of a concern.

    • Disadvantages: The primary drawback is the cost, as gold fillings are more expensive than other types. Additionally, their distinct appearance can be a cosmetic concern for those who prioritize a natural look.

It’s essential to discuss with your dentist to determine the most suitable filling material based on factors such as location within the mouth, cosmetic preferences, and budget considerations.

What can I expect during a filling procedure?

The filling procedure is usually relatively quick and painless. Your dentist will first numb the area around the tooth being treated. Then, they will use a drill to remove the decayed tooth material. Once the cavity is clean, the dentist will place the filling material and shape it to fit the tooth. Finally, they will polish the filling to make it smooth.

How can I care for my dental fillings?

With proper care, your dental fillings can last for many years. Here are some tips for caring for your fillings:


    1. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day:


    • Explanation: Regular oral hygiene practices are crucial for maintaining the health of your dental fillings. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day help remove plaque and bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth and around the edges of your fillings, preventing decay and gum disease.


    1. Avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks:


    • Explanation: Sugary and acidic substances can contribute to tooth decay and weaken the structure of your fillings over time. Minimizing the consumption of such foods and drinks helps preserve the integrity of your fillings and promotes overall oral health.


    1. Don’t chew on hard objects:


    • Explanation: Chewing on hard objects, such as ice, pens, or hard candies, can lead to cracks or chips in your dental fillings. Additionally, it can put excessive pressure on the filling-material-tooth interface, potentially causing damage. Avoiding these habits helps prevent unnecessary stress on your fillings.


    1. See your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings:


    • Explanation: Regular dental check-ups are essential for monitoring the condition of your fillings. Your dentist can detect any signs of wear, cracks, or decay early on, allowing for timely intervention. Professional cleanings during these visits help remove plaque and tartar that may accumulate around your fillings, contributing to their longevity.

Here are additional tips for maintaining your dental fillings:


    1. Avoid smoking and tobacco products:


    • Explanation: Smoking can not only stain your teeth but may also affect the appearance of your dental fillings. Additionally, tobacco use is linked to various oral health issues, including gum disease, which can impact the longevity of your fillings.


    1. Address pain or sensitivity promptly:


    • Explanation: If you experience any discomfort, pain, or increased sensitivity around a filled tooth, it’s crucial to contact your dentist promptly. These symptoms may indicate an issue with the filling, and early intervention can prevent further complications.


    1. Regular dental check-ups for preventive care:


    • Explanation: Beyond addressing specific concerns, regular dental check-ups play a vital role in preventive care. Your dentist can identify potential issues early on and provide guidance on maintaining optimal oral health, contributing to the longevity of your dental fillings.

By incorporating these additional tips into your oral care routine, you can enhance the durability and effectiveness of your dental fillings, ensuring a healthy and beautiful smile for years to come.

Uncover a more vibrant and healthier smile at Smiles in Reading, your leading choice for high-quality dental care. Our expert dental team is dedicated to delivering thorough and individualized services, whether you require a dental fillings, or any other kinds of services. At Smiles in Reading, we blend cutting-edge dental technology with a caring approach to guarantee your comfort and contentment. Discover the ease of scheduling appointments online and encounter dentistry that surpasses expectations. Rely on us to improve your oral health and reveal the brilliance in your smile.