Sometimes a tooth can be damaged by decay (cavity) or chipped or fractured. If this loss of tooth substance has not involved the pulp (the life-house) of the tooth, then it may be restored with a filling. Hence, not all teeth can be filled. It takes a dentist’s assessment and most often, confirmation with a radiograph.
During the procedure, the dentist may drill into the tooth to remove the decay and design then the cavity in order to make it accommodate the filling material. The hole is then cleaned, dried, filled and adjusted. You will be given some instructions afterward.
Nene dental centre offers two main types of fillings: amalgam and tooth-coloured fillings like GIC and composite.
Amalgam is a filling material that is made of various metal alloys, including mecury and has been used to restore teeth for a long time. It is quite strong but has the disadvantage of being dark in colour.
Glass Ionomer Cement (GIC)
This is a whitish filling material which is great for filling holes and restoring deep abrasions on the neck of the teeth from hard brushing.
There are various types of composite fillings but we typically use the type that needs a blue light to harden. It is used to fill holes, cervical abrasion as well as fractured teeth. It comes in different shades of white.
Amalgam, GIC and composite fillings can last up to (and even beyond) 10 years and are hence often referred to as permanent filling, as opposed to another type of fillings:
Sometimes, a tooth can benefit from a pre-treatment called pulp capping. It involves placing a material on top of the slightly injured or about injured pulp with the hope that the tooth would heal. A temporary filling is then placed over this and the person goes home and returns after a few weeks for a permanent filling or a different treatment.
A temporary filling is also placed in between root canal visits.