During the course of their lives, individuals will unfortunately end up with a small hole in one or more of their teeth. In the majority of cases, the easiest way of treating this issue is to clear away the decay and fill the damaged area.
This will require a dental filling, which is used to restore pearly whites with problems or light damage that is usually caused by a build-up of plaque. The technique is also used to treat a range of other dental issues including a misaligned bite or to help people chew properly.
Made up of several layers, teeth are protected by enamel – an exceptionally hard substance that protects the area from every day wear and tear. Below the gum line is a coat of cementum, which keeps the roots of each tooth safe from harm.
Following this is dentin, a hard bone-like substance that contains nerve endings then finally, at the core is the dental pulp – a tissue made up of blood vessels, capillaries and nerve fibres.
This material keeps the pearly whites healthy through its development and makes individuals aware of any damage to the area by pain transmission.
Most of the time, cavities are spotted by a dental professional during a patient’s regular check-ups, which highlights the importance of visiting the surgery on a regular basis. In other cases, emergency visits due to pain can reveal a hole in the pearly white.
While it is relatively easy for the dentist to locate the area that has been affected by decay, those individuals who underestimate the extent of the problem may find they develop a number of more severe issues.
Once the correct pearly white is found, the rot is removed through the use of surgical tools or lasers, before it is thoroughly cleaned and prepared for the rest of the filling process.
During this procedure, a dentist will isolate the tooth so no moisture will interfere with the bonding, then an adhesive is applied that acts as a base for the composite material.
Following this, a special light source is usually used to activate the process, which leaves patients with a natural looking smile.
This type of filling is created using a combination of metals including silver, tin, copper and mercury. In most cases, this material is utilised due to its durability and the fact it is able to withstand the grinding and chewing of the back teeth over long periods.
Provided patients maintain a good level of oral hygiene, an amalgam filling can last for up to 12 years, compared to around five for other types.
A number of options are available to patients looking to fill a cavity in their tooth. Composite and glass ionomer are soft and can be moulded to mimic the shape of the tooth before hardening.
In addition, the discreet nature of the substance means they have become popular among many individuals with traditional fillings.
Advancements in the world of dentistry mean there is a wide selection of choice available for individuals looking for a solution to a problem that may have affected them for many years.
Tooth-coloured fillings that match the colour of the pearly whites provide a natural-looking alternative to amalgam fillings and are usually used in the teeth to show when individuals smile or talk.
Unfortunately, the aesthetically pleasing material is not as durable as its predecessor so is not always suitable for the grinding and chewing surfaces of the back teeth.
With composite and glass ionomer fixtures, the material is moulded into the shape of a tooth before it hardens. In addition, this process can help patients with chipped or worn teeth, as it can be stuck to the side of the pearly whites.