Why Do Patients Need Dental Fillings And What Options Are Available?

Posted on: 29 December 2021

While most people are aware of the importance of proper oral hygiene for the protection of their teeth and gums from dental diseases, a presumption that some people make is that as long as they brush and floss their teeth, they will never be at risk of developing a cavity. But this is not true.

Unquestionably, brushing and flossing reduce one's vulnerability to cavities. Nonetheless, the location of the molars and premolars coupled with their grooved and pitted nature does make these teeth more susceptible to plaque, increasing the risk of decay. Hence, you find that you or your child may be in dire need of a dental filling.

What is the purpose of dental fillings?

Once you develop tooth decay, the bacteria steadily eat through the tooth enamel. Not only does this cause darkening of the tooth, but it results in tiny holes in the enamel that affect the structural integrity of the tooth. When you pay a visit to the dentist, they need to extract all decayed parts of the tooth as well as eliminate any lingering bacteria that could be inside it, and this leaves a gaping hole behind that exposes the nerve endings.

To ensure that food particles do not collect in this hole while preventing excessive pain stemming from the nerves being exposed to temperature changes, impact, and more, the dentist will fill this gap with a material that will reinforce the compromised tooth. As a result, tooth function is restored.

What types of dental fillings are available?

When some people think of dental fillings, their minds automatically envision the greyish matter that is applied onto the space left behind by a cavity and this is not surprising, as this material has been used for decades on end. Professionally referred to as amalgam fillings, they comprise an amalgamation of copper, silver, tin, and mercury, making them the most affordable option in the market. But this is not the only type of dental fillings available.

If your child has developed a cavity, the dentist will likely recommend a glass ionomer filling. What sets this option apart from other teeth fillings is its ability to slowly release fluoride when in use, which will help decrease the threat of future dental decay. Nonetheless, these dental fillings are not long-lasting, making them suited for milk teeth.

If aesthetics are important to you, you could discuss porcelain fillings with your dentist. Undoubtedly costlier than amalgam fillings, you can expect this option to be more robust, so your dental filling will last longer than its amalgam counterpart would. Moreover, porcelain fillings look and feel like your natural teeth, so your tooth will be restored to normal after the cavity is addressed.

Contact a company like Dental Care Associates to learn more about dental fillings.