A chipped front tooth or small spaces between the teeth can be effectively treated by bonding a resin to the tooth. In addition, cavities and decay can be filled with bonded fillings. An excellent colour match can be made with modern resins. Bonding is useful for improving small irregularities but is less successful than veneers or crowns in the treatment of some problems.
You may require a filling if you have cavities and tooth decay. This is most predominately caused by a combination of sugary foods and drinks, and poor oral health. If you do not brush your teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes, and if you do not floss, you can put your teeth at risk of decay. This is because sugary foods break down the protection on your teeth and allow for bacteria to build up. If you don’t brush your teeth, this bacteria can build up and degrade your teeth and gums, causing all sorts of problems.
A small amount of drilling may be necessary to allow the material to bond to the tooth surface better. The tooth is prepared by etching the surface with a gel. The surface is then painted with a bonding liquid that sets firmly when a special light is shone on it. A putty-like resin is moulded onto the tooth and shaped. The light is again used to harden it. Finally, the set resin is trimmed and polished to a beautiful shine.
Can dental fillings fall out?
Unfortunately, no filling lasts a lifetime and will eventually need to be replaced. There are several reasons as to why your filling might fall out including:
- Personal Habits: Clenching or grinding your teeth can chip teeth and also put extra pressure on the tooth and the filling. Similarly, playing contact sports may expose the teeth to the potential for trauma. These could shorten the life of the filling, or cause it to fall out.
- Bacteria accumulation: Poor oral hygiene habits may cause bacteria to accumulate around the edges of the dental filling, causing it to loosen and potentially become dislodged.
- Foods: Although uncommon, some foods can cause fillings to fall out. For example, hard candy may damage a tooth and the filling. It is important to remember that the mouth experiences a range of different conditions, from wet to dry, hot to cold foods and hard to chewy foods. Usually, a filling can withstand these, but they aren’t indestructible.
Visiting your dentist regularly is the best way to ensure the longevity of your filling. At Crookes and Jenkins Dental, we offer our patients the highest quality fillings, experienced dentistry and helpful advice, so you can be sure that your filling is built to last.
How common are dental fillings?
Dental fillings are one of the more common dental procedures and are often needed by children as well as adults. You probably know a number of people who have fillings and you may even have one or several yourself! If your dentist recommends that you need a filling there is no need for alarm. It means that you are taking a step in the right direction for preventing further decay (which could escalate into something far more serious). Your dentist can help you to understand why you may have cavities in your teeth and guide you through proper oral hygiene techniques to ensure that you won’t need more in the future.
What are dental fillings made of?
There are several different types of materials used to create a filling, each with its own benefits. These include:
Composite dental fillings made from resin is the most common choice by dentist and by patients. As they are tooth-coloured (matched perfectly to the colour of your natural tooth), they are almost invisible. The material is durable and malleable and is bonded to the tooth using blue light technology to ensure that the fillings takes hold and remains in place.
Amalgam fillings are comprised of a number of different metals, including silver, tin, copper and zinc and are largely an out-dated technique. They are one of the stronger types of fillings and have been used for more than 150 years. They are still supported by the Australian Dental Association; however, most dentists will suggest an alternate option.
Gold fillings are long lasting and are, as the name suggests, made of gold and are gold in appearance. They generally cost more than their more modern counterparts.
Glass-ionomer cement fillings are also tooth-coloured and are usually used on teeth, or parts of the teeth, that don’t bear weight. These might include those without much biting force, or baby teeth. Generally, glass-ionomer fillings are a less-expensive alternative, but don’t tend to last as long as their counterparts.
At Crookes Jenkins dental, we largely use modern resins to create our fillings as they not only colour-match the tooth, they are also durable and long-lasting.
The aim of root canal or endodontic treatment is to save a tooth that has been badly damaged by decay, disease or injury. The infected pulp is removed from the centre of the tooth, leaving the main body of the tooth intact. If left untreated, your entire tooth may have to be extracted. Problems with biting, chewing and oral health are associated with losing a tooth. Nearby teeth can move out of their normal position and tilt into the space left by a missing tooth. This can make chewing and biting difficult, and can lead to further decay and gum disease around the tilted teeth. In some cases, root canal treatment is not appropriate and an extraction may be the only option. Dr Crookes, Dr Jenkins or Dr Clark will assess each tooth before root canal treatment is undertaken.
Root canal treatment is performed with local anaesthetic, usually over two or three visits. A thin sheet of latex called a rubber dam is used to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and dry during treatment. The treatment involves removing the inflamed or infected pulp. If a severe abscess has formed at the root tip, oral antibiotic tablets may be needed to help treat the infection. Each root canal is cleaned, enlarged and shaped. A temporary filling and anti-bacterial medicines will be placed in the tooth in between visits to protect the tooth. On the final visit the root canals are filled and the pulp chamber is sealed, protecting the inside of the tooth from further infection. A crown is often recommended to restore the natural form of the tooth following the completion of root canal treatment.