Tooth Filling

Fill up those “holes” early to prevent them from becoming the source of your pain!

What is a dental filling?

Dental fillings, also known as restorations, are artificial materials used to restore a tooth that has been damaged back to its normal function and physical appearance.

Dental fillings are required when there are cavities (holes) due to decay of teeth structure or fracture/ chipped tooth. This does not mean that you need to wait until there is a hole before a dental filling is required. There could be some early signs which are alerting you that you may require a filling. Some examples include sensitivity to cold or sweet food, mild pain while biting, or food getting stuck frequently.

There are various materials, such as amalgam, glass ionomer cement, and composite resins. Different materials have different properties and lifespan. Some other factors affecting a dental filling’s lifespan include where and how the filling is placed, the chewing load that the tooth has to bear, and your oral hygiene.

tooth filling

Dental Fillings Basics

In some cases, a small x-ray may be required to see the extent of the decay. This will help determine if a dental filling is an ideal solution and help your dentist plan the procedure appropriately.

At Ocean Dental, we have the x-ray unit right in the treatment room itself – this means you do not need to be moved to the x-ray room to take the x-ray before coming back to the treatment room for the treatment, saving time and improving efficiency.

Another key to a successful dental filling is that it restores the original function of the tooth. If a filling is built up to be too high, it may affect the chewing and end up causing toothache due to the higher pressure when biting!

dental filling

Dental Fillings Procedure

1) During the dental filling procedure, the dentist will first clean up the decayed tooth structure using a high-speed handpiece known as the “drill”.

2) After most decayed structures are removed, the dentist will switch to a slow-speed handpiece to remove any remaining portions of the decayed tooth. As this handpiece drills slower than the high-speed handpiece, you may feel a vibrating sensation in your tooth.

3) Once the cavity is cleaned up, your dentist will then place in the filling material and cure (harden) it with a light-curing device (the blue light). Different dental materials may have different properties, but it is generally vital to observe good infection control and effective moisture control of the operative field to ensure a successful filling. Contamination during the process may end up causing those bacteria to be sealed inside your tooth, causing severe consequences in the future!

4) After the filling is done, you will be asked to bite on a carbon paper to check if the filling is too thick/ too high. After all the trimming and polishing is done, the tooth will be just like it was.

5) Different dental materials may have different properties, but it is generally vital to observe good infection control and effective moisture control of the operative field to ensure a successful filling.

6) Contamination during the process may end up causing those bacterias to be sealed inside your tooth, causing severe consequences in the future!

7) After the filling is done, you will be asked to bite on a carbon paper to check if the filling is too thick/ too high. After all the trimming and polishing is done, the tooth will be just like it was.

Restore the appearance and function of your tooth!

Professional team

Pain free experience with local anesthesia if required

Tooth colored filling which blends in with surrounding teeth

Post-op advice to ensure the longevity of dental filling

FAQ

It is common to experience some form of mild and temporary sensitivity after a dental filling procedure, easily triggered by very cold or very hot substances.

This may last for around 2-3 weeks, but it will gradually lessen and improve over time. However, if the sensitivity is so extreme that it causes pain to chew/bite or even talk, do contact your dentist and check it.

Dental filling is between $70 to $150, depending on the type of material, the size of the cavity and complexity of the procedure. You may consult our dentist prior to starting the procedure for the exact quote after the consultation.

Each material has its own pros and cons. The decision to which material to use depends on many factors such as the location and the size of the cavity.

 

Amalgam

Glass Ionomer

Composite

Strength

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Longevity

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Invasiveness

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Moisture sensitive

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Aesthetic

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Price

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Depends on a case-by-case basis.

Amalgam filling a stable alloy made with mercury, silver, tin, copper, and other metals. Although concerns have been raised over the years about mercury safety in dental amalgam, there is no conclusive evidence to support that they should be replaced with other materials. The American Dental Association supports dental amalgam as a safe, reliable, and effective dental decay treatment.

Like most other substances, mercury in the body is related to the amount ingested. With amalgam filling, minimal amounts of mercury in the form of vapor can be released and absorbed into the body as the filling wears. Hence, research has concluded that amalgam fillings are nothing to worry about because the low level of mercury absorbed from them is not enough to create any toxic effects. Studies have shown that the amount of mercury you can be exposed to from amalgam fillings is less than the amount that most people are exposed to in their daily environment or in the food they eat.

Nonetheless, if your old dental fillings are defective or show decay, it’s crucial to replace them. Untreated decay may eventually lead to severe consequences such as infection and dental abscess.

Different filling materials have different properties; hence, some are more durable than others, but none is considered permanent.

Metal filling, such as amalgam fillings, can last up to 20 years in the right circumstances. Composite fillings and glass ionomer fillings, on the other hand, can be more fragile — but also more cosmetically appealing.

The location of the filling contributes to how long it can last too. Constant stress from chewing or clenching may result in more wear and tear or fracture risk.

It is normal to experience some form of mild soreness or sensitivity immediately after the filling procedure. This may last up to 2 weeks, depending on how deep the decay was.

You can eat and drink, but it is advisable to chew slowly and bite gently. If possible, try to chew on the opposite side. Avoid sticky food, extreme hot/ cold food, and also sweet food. These foods may trigger the sensitivity, especially immediately after the procedure.

Still have a question about tooth filling?

Don’t hesitate to contact us!