Why do I need to have dental fillings?
Dental fillings are a restorative dental procedure designed to repair the damage caused by tooth decay.
Fillings can play a crucial role in maintaining good oral health, as the cavities caused by decay can undermine tooth and bone structure, and eventually lead to nerve damage.
There are a variety of options when it comes to fillings, and we will be able to advise you as to the appropriate filling material to meet your specific needs. Modern filling materials are also very flexible, and can be shaped and coloured in such a way that they are virtually invisible.
However, some fillings do have a limited lifespan and so they may need to be repaired or restored, which can be done at a regular checkup in our Morphett Vale dental surgery.
What are dental fillings made of?
When you have a dental filling, the decayed part of the tooth is drilled out and then filled with a composite or amalgam material, for which there are a range of options available:
- Ceramic fillings: a material similar to porcelain, often chosen for the highly effective way in which it bonds to your teeth
- Amalgam: a durable alloy that is ideally suited to larger fillings in back teeth, and which can generally be expected to last for at least 10 years
- Composite resin: a natural-looking material made from glass and resin, and which is strong enough to be used on both back and front teeth.
During the procedure, a local anaesthetic will be administered so that decay, bacteria and other debris can be removed from the tooth. The filling material will be applied and shaped so that it blends in with the shape of the natural tooth, to ensure there are no problems going forward with your bite.
What are the benefits of dental fillings?
The primary benefit of dental fillings is that they restore the strength and integrity of decayed teeth, enabling them to continue functioning effectively. Fillings also prevent cavities from increasing in size, which can lead to more permanent, irreversible damage. They can also help to enhance the appearance of decayed or damaged teeth.
Are dental fillings right for me?
If you have cavities caused by dental decay, then dental fillings are the ideal solution.
They help you to maintain good dental health in both the short and long term, and most fillings can usually be completed in a single visit to our southern Adelaide dentist surgery.
The material used in your filling will depend on the position of the decayed tooth and the extent of the cavity, but we will be able to advise you as to which offers the most effective solution.
Commonly asked questions about Dental Fillings
How much does a dental filling cost?
The cost of a dental filling will ultimately depend on the material used and the number of fillings required. Your dentist can advise you of the expected cost at the time of your consultation.
Does getting a dental filling hurt?
We generally complete fillings under local anaesthetic, and so there should be no pain associated with the procedure. A mild sedative can also be administered to help with any feelings of anxiety.
Can fillings get dislodged or fall out?
It is possible for older fillings to become dislodged or fall out. However, if you have a regular dental checkup, your dentist should be able to spot at-risk fillings before they deteriorate to any great extent.
What are dental inlays?
Dental inlays and onlays can provide an alternative to composite fillings when decay or injury has caused damage to a tooth. They can be used when decay and/or damage to the tooth is so significant that a conventional filling may weaken its structure, or when the cusp has not been affected.
What is the difference between a dental inlay and a dental onlay?
A dental inlay is a special type of customised filling that is designed to fit into the grooves on a tooth without extending out over the cusps (the elevated part of the tooth). An inlay will repair the chewing surface of the tooth (which ultimately improves both chewing and digestion), while also preventing the further onset and spread of decay. Dental inlays are also more robust and therefore longer lasting than most types of conventional fillings.
A dental onlay differs from an inlay in that it is fitted over the cusp, the biting surface of the tooth, or the gap between teeth. A dental onlay may be required when the damage to a tooth is more widespread, or when decay has created cavities in the gaps between teeth.