Everything you need to know about teeth fillings.
A tooth filling, also known in dentistry as tooth restoration, describes the process of removing diseased or broken down tooth structure and replacing the space with a suitable tooth filling material in an effort to preserve the tooth for as long as possible. The use of fillings to restore a tooth back to a functional and cosmetically pleasing state has been common practice since the mid-1800s
In these early days, dentists would most commonly use a product called amalgam. Amalgam is a mixture of tin, copper, silver, and mercury and is melted down, placed inside the prepared tooth cavity, and sets hard in minutes allowing a dental patient to leave the clinic with a fully restored tooth to chew on in a single appointment.
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The longevity of fillings varies depending on so many factors: the size of filling, the bite, acidity in the mouth, skill of dentist, material type – just to name a few! On average however, they last approximately 7 years.
Usually yes! Most dentists now use tooth coloured materials for tooth fillings – the main one being composite resin.
Yes. They vary based on how many surfaces of the tooth they cover and in the type of material used. In Australia, most fillings are made of composite resin. However amalgam metal, glass ionomer, and ceramic materials are also used commonly depending on where they are in the mouth and the dentist preference.
They can vary depending on the material, the size, and of course dentists have different prices dependent on how they run their business. Most tooth fillings are between 200-300 dollars each.
Once the anaesthetic is worn off, you can eat on your tooth filling straight away. In some cases, you may need to wait up to 24 hours before you can chew normally if your dentist has used a specific material that can take longer to completely set.
They most certainly can! If tooth fillings are old, or have been under too much stress in the mouth or if they haven’t been bonded well, thefilling may end up in your mouthful of food you’re chewing
Every medical procedure has a risk associated with it. In terms of dental, tooth fillings are the most commonly done invasive procedure, with very small chances of harm. The local anaesthetic process if the more likely part of the process that could harm you with an allergy or vasovagal reaction.
The harm you may have after a filling is if the nerve tissue dies in response to it. This may happen due to heat from the drill or due to pressure of water pushing bacteria into the nerve. In both cases, the harm in leaving disease is much greater and a certainty compared to a small chance if treating the condition.
If you have concerns, please discuss with your dentist. They are always happy to explain the risks prior to any treatment – in fact, they will do this whether you ask or not.
Local anaesthetic is typically used to ensure that the procedure doesn’t hurt. You may experience some minor discomfort in this process. On the rare occasion, it can be difficult to get the appropriate anaesthesia but once ‘numb’ the procedure is painless!