Tooth decay is one of the most common reasons for having a filling.
A tooth filling, also known as a restoration, done at earlier stage of tooth decay, can prevent decay from affecting the nerve, reduce your tooth sensitivity to cold, sweet or foods or drinks and improve the aesthetics of your teeth. Fillings also potentially reduce the worsening of cracked, fractured or worn-down teeth.
A variety of tooth filling materials are available.
Different filling materials are chosen depending on:
Most fillings can be completed in a single visit to the dentist. Any decay is removed from your tooth and filling material is applied to the tooth. Nowadays, we commonly use composite resin or glass ionomer filling (GIC) material, also called ‘white fillings’, for direct fillings. Direct fillings do require replacement from time to time, more frequently than indirect fillings.
When you have a larger decay, indirect filling is the preferred choice of filling. This is because the indirect filling material can withstand heavier chewing forces and replacement of indirect filling is less frequent.
Indirect filling/restoration can be an inlay or onlay. They are customised fillings done outside your mouth, in a laboratory environment. For that reason, indirect filling treatment usually needs to be done across two appointments with two weeks apart. Onlays cover the chewing surface involving one or more cusp tips of the tooth while inlays lie within the cusps of the tooth. Porcelain, composite resin and gold are often used for indirect restorative materials.
Ceramic inlays and onlays are the most commonly used indirect fillings and provide very natural results shaped to mimic the original tooth and biting surface and are less prone to stains and discolouration than composite materials. They increase the strength of the tooth as most of the remaining natural tooth is retained. Ceramic is extremely durable and can resist the pressure of grinding or bruxism. As they are customised, decay is less likely as a good seal is achieved and plaque is not trapped, making oral hygiene easier to maintain.
At Dentist Mandy, we are dedicated in discussing all options with you in order to choose the most suitable filling material to match your needs and expectations.
Indirect fillings are completed in 2 visits. They involve creating a customised impression of the tooth in the first appointment, the impression is then sent to a laboratory and made by a dental technician. As we need multiple appointments and source material and labour from a laboratory, indirect fillings are considerably more expensive than direct fillings.
During the first appointment, the tooth cavity will be prepared and impressions of the teeth will be taken. A temporary indirect filling will be made to keep the cavity clean and prevent sensitivity before the next appointment.
During the second appointment, the temporary filling will be removed and the teeth will be cleaned and dried and the inlay and onlay will be applied on. The fit and bite will be examined and adjusted accordingly.
After the first visit, a diet consisting of softer foods is advised as the temporary filling is weaker. After the final inlay or onlay is placed, you are able to eat and chew as per normal right after the procedure.
Always remember that as with all dental treatments, how long your indirect filling will last also depends on the maintenance of good daily oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly and visiting your dentist regularly to prevent tooth decay from occurring again.
At Dentist Mandy, we are committed to solving your oral problems at the outset to ensure a sustainable dental plan for a lifetime. Contact us today to discover which filling is the most beneficial for your optimal oral health.
Depending on where the filling is, different materials suit different purposes. Your lifestyle, oral hygiene habits, finances, personal choice are all factors that determine which material is most suitable for you. If your mouth is more exposed to an acidic environment, then an indirect porcelain and ceramic inlay would be recommended because composite resin would wear down quicker. For someone who has a higher risk of developing holes in their teeth or require better oral hygiene habits, a glass ionomer filling would be recommended. If a filling is required in the front teeth, ceramic or composite resin materials would be recommended for a more aesthetically pleasing result. However, every patient is different, so after a thorough examination and treatment plan, Dentist Mandy will offer you advice of which filling material is best suited for you.