Treatment of Tooth Decay / Fillings
Fillings are materials placed in the teeth to replace and build up parts of a natural tooth, which are damaged by tooth decay or tooth wear. The cause of dental decay is bacterial induced process in the presence of sugar that dissolves the tooth. Tooth wear is caused by erosion which is a process whereby tooth substance is dissolved by acid, either from dietary sources or stomache reflux; or abrasion which is caused by mechanical wearing of the teeth by incorrect or aggressive tooth brushing. The loss of tooth substance created by the process can lead to pain as a result of exposure of the sensitive parts of the tooth.
Tooth decay or tooth wear are not always painful and hence it is important to see a dentist regularly in order to identify them before they cause more advance problems.
Composite fillings are tooth coloured and can bond to the tooth. Some evidence shows that they also reinforce the remaining tooth structure.
When using composite as a filling material, due to its bonding to the tooth structure, it is not necessary to remove the tooth structure to create a mechanical retention as we do for cavity preparation for amalgam filling which makes the treatment more conservative.
The material is set hard (cured) by a blue light, which allows the dentist time to place it. It is very sensitive to moisture before it has cured and the dentist will need to use techniques to prevent contamination before it is set.
A variety of factors are important when deciding on the type of filling most appropriate for restoring a tooth. These will include the location of the filling, cosmetic concerns, effective moisture control for the procedure and presence of enamol. The dentist will be only too pleased to discuss the options so that an informed decision can be made.
Amalgam fillings are made from a compound of metals and having a filling is among the most common dental procedures. The advantage of this material is that it has a proven record for lasting many years and is relatively easy for the dentist to use. These fillings have been used as the treatment of choice to fix dental cavities and tooth decay for more than 150 years. This is the oldest and still most commonly used material for replacing large amounts of tooth substance in back teeth.
Amalgam fillings are sometimes the only permanent tooth filling which can be used where the margains of the tooth cavity are under the gum which makes it impossible to keep completely dry for the use of composite filling materials.