Dental fillings are restorations for teeth that have been affected by caries, or decay. Improper or inadequate oral hygiene maintenance is the top cause of caries in the oral cavity. A low pH of the mouth, combined with areas of accumulated food debris are favourable factors for bacterial present in the mouth to initiate their invasion of the mineralized portions of the teeth.
There are three layers of a normal, healthy tooth. The outmost layer, which is also the hardest, most mineralized layer, is known as Enamel. The second layer, which is slightly porous and less mineralized is called Dentin. Finally, the third and innermost layer is called Pulp – and it contains numerous blood vessels and nerve endings that help in maintaining tooth vitality.
The process of caries, or tooth decay generally begins from a small white, or brown spot seen on the surface of the enamel. If left untreated, it can grow larger and deeper, proceeding to invade and infect the dentin as well as the pulp.
Dental fillings can effectively remove and restore any damage caused by decay – as long as it is restricted to the first two layers of the tooth. Here’s what happens during a tooth-coloured dental filling procedure at the office;
- Depending upon the extent and depth of the lesion, the area may be numbed to prevent any discomfort, pain or sensitivity
- Next, a mechanical hand-piece with a fast rotating bur is used to remove the decayed portion of the tooth completely
- An etchant (an acidic solution meant to create small porosities on the tooth for better bonding of the filling material) is then applied to the newly created clean cavity. It is then washed and dried.
- Another liquid known as a Bonding Agent is then applied to the cavity
- Tooth-coloured dental filling materials known as composites are then used to rebuild the tooth, replicating the natural anatomy, cusps and contours for the perfect aesthetic restoration
- Once the desired shape and contours have been achieved, the material is set/hardened in place with the help of a curing light.
- The filling may be polished to give a natural shine to the restoration
Composites are available in a wide range of shades, which means that your filling can be made to match the exact same colour of your natural teeth.
If you’ve recently spotted a dark lesion on one of your teeth, or if one of your teeth is unusually sensitive to hot and cold all of a sudden – it’s time to see your dentist. At Prospect Dental, we make it a point to nip infections right in the bud before they can get bigger and more complex. Give us a call to book an appointment for your filling today!