Fillings are a type of dental restoration used to
repair a tooth damaged by decay (caries). It is common for a tooth
to have decay but not cause any sensitivity or discomfort. The following
graphics show examples of tooth decay.
When tooth decay reaches the point of causing pain
the decay is usually to advanced for a filling to properly restore
the tooth. A crown and possibly a root canal maybe be needed. The
cost of these two procedures, for a single tooth, is greater than
the cost of 14 regular or periodic dental checkups. Regular dental
checkups will catch any decay while it is still minor in nature
and your best means to avoid costly dental treatment.
With a filling, the decay is removed from the tooth
and the cavity created is then prepared or shaped to accommodate a filling material. This preparation will ensure a proper seal and
bonding of the material the tooth.
There are three types of filling material in common
use today (amalgam, composite and gold) and each has different preparation
requirements. Amalgam is a metallic gray, silver & mercury alloy
which hardens or cures overtime after placement. Composite is a
tooth colored resin which is light cured after placement. And gold
is a soft metal, which is pressed into the cavity and forms a seal
as a result of this placement pressure, no curing is involved. The
following graphics shows the different types of fillings.
It is common to experience some sensitivity and possibly
some gum irritation for a few days after treatment. These side effects
will be most noticeable a few hours after the procedure and diminishing
in nature until gone. Sometimes the filling will need additional
adjustment to ensure proper bite alignment. If you notice that your
"bite" does not feel right, tell your doctor.