Dental Fillings are one of the most popular dental procedures to have. In fact, it is stipulated that the average American will get fillings at least 3 times in heir lifetime.
So what are they?
Dental Fillings are a restorative treatment that repairs the damage of tooth decay. Dentists “fill the hole” that has been created by the decay. The decay is removed prior to the actual placement of material. Fillings are made from a composite (tooth-colored) material or amalgam (silver) material. Composite is the newer and preferred material due to cosmetic reasons. An anesthetic gel is applied to the area where an injection of local anesthetic is given. The injection then numbs the tooth so the patient does not feel any discomfort during treatment. The dentist then removes any previous dental restoration and the surrounding decay. The cavity is cleaned prior to the material being applied. Similar to the sealant process, the material is hardened using an ultraviolet light. After the material has hardened, the bite is adjusted and corrected using a handpiece.
Benefits of Dental Fillings
Dental filling treatments provide a number of benefits, including;
Quick procedure: When only one tooth is affected by decay, the filling treatment is a quick and uncomplicated process that roughly lasts about an hour-long
Durable: Dental fillings can last on average around five-seven years on average – particularly tooth-colored fillings. White silver fillings usually have a longer life span and can last for around 12 years (on the premise that you maintain good oral hygiene)
Cost-effective: Dental fillings are a fairly economical dental procedure – particularly if you are covered by dental insurance.
Appearance: Overall, dental fillings are a fairly undetected dental treatment – particularly if you opt for a tooth-colored filling restoration!
Dental Fillings risks and side effects
Side effects posed by the implementation of a filling are fairly few and far between. However, as with any treatment, patients may experience side effects. These include;
Sensitivity: Some patients may experience sensitivity prior to receiving a filling around the infected area. If you are experiencing sensitivity, it is advisable that you avoid hot or cold drinks during this time to mitigate any pain.
Pain: some patients may also detect pain when biting down or applying pressure to the treated tooth the following days after the procedure.
Re-treatment: As the dentists permanently remove damaged areas of your natural teeth and fill it in with a synthetic material, you will have to return to the dentist five-twelve years after the first procedure.
How are Dental Sealants and Dental Fillings Different?
Although they are similarly performed, they are very different. The main differences come from the goals of the treatments, longevity, and the amount of modification to the actual tooth. The average life of a filling can be expected to last as long as ten years. The average life expectancy of a sealant is no longer than a year. Depending on the patient’s oral hygiene practices, it may not even survive that long. Sealants are typically provided to children to protect their back teeth from developing decay, whereas fillings can be provided throughout one’s lifetime to restore a tooth from decay that has already formed. During a filling, unlike a sealant, the natural tooth structure is modified due to the removal of the decay. A sealant only fills in the natural grooves of the tooth.
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