Most people have heard of dental fillings, one of the most common types of restorative dental treatment in the world. It involves drilling out any decayed material to create a clean, bacteria-free cavity that is then filled. There are several different types of filling, from metal amalgam that is dark silver-grey in color and that most people are familiar with, to fillings made from tooth-colored composite.
When in place, fillings help to protect the tooth against further decay, damage, and infection, while also restoring its strength, function, and appearance. When cared for properly, they are fairly durable, lasting around a decade or more.
There are a range of reasons why your dentist may recommend that you have a dental filling. The main one is dental decay.
Dental decay is a very common problem, affecting most of us at some point during our lifetime.
Dental decay occurs when sugars found in the food and drinks we consume interact with bacteria in our mouths to produce acid. This acid eats away at the enamel of our teeth, causing holes to develop. These holes are decay, and the deeper they penetrate, the more layers of sensitive tooth material are exposed. This leads to toothache. However, that’s not the only problem. Exposed holes provide an entry point for bacteria that can cause infections to develop.
Although dental enamel is one of the strongest substances in the body, occasionally small pieces of teeth can break off – often the result of biting down very hard on something, such as a piece of ice. If you have chipped a tooth, you may be recommended to have a dental filling to repair the damage you’ve sustained. This is because filling material can be used to fill the chip and protect the rest of the tooth.
There are a range of different symptoms you may experience if you suffer from decay or damage that can indicate that you need a filling. These include:
General dental pain. This can be anything from a constant, dull ache to sharp, agonizing bursts of pain
Sensitivity to foods that are hot, cold, or very sweet. Sensitivity usually manifests in sharp pain
Sudden pain when you bite or chew
Dark brown or grey patches on the enamel of the teeth
You may have a chipped or fractured tooth
It’s important to be aware that in some instances, your dentist may recommend that you have a filling before you experience any symptoms. This is because, if you attend regular check-ups, it may be possible for them to spot an area of decay developing before it causes you any problems.
Your dentist will be able to explain the types of filling that are available to you and the differences between them and will support you in choosing the right variety to suit you and your individual requirements.
For more information about dental fillings, or to schedule an appointment to discuss them, please contact our Le Smile Aesthetic & Comprehensive Dentistry in Falls Church, Virginia at 703-534-6226.