Dental Fillings – All you need to know

Dental Filling – All you need to know

Dental hygiene is not complete with just daily brushing. The bacteria build-up occurs throughout the day forming tartar and sticks to the surface of the teeth. This will create bad breath and attract more and more bacteria. So it is very important to do a professional dental examination and dental cleanings every six months. Ignoring dental hygiene will lead to tooth decay and to further complications.

Dental Filling is a very common treatment procedure used by dentists all over the world to correct damage and decay. This procedure is usually done in three to four sittings. First, a digital X-ray is done to determine the condition of the teeth and gums. Then the dentist works on deep cleaning and removal of decay completely.  A temporary filling is then done. In the next sitting after the material of filling is chosen and pre-ordered, the tooth is filled. The filling material ranges from gold, silver, porcelain, a composite resin (tooth-colored fillings), and an amalgam (an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin, and zinc). There is also available a material that contains glass particles known as glass ionomer. Teeth grinding may be required after this procedure to place a cap or dental crown on the teeth to protect the filling.

Aftercare and Recovery

It is best to avoid any food and drinks immediately after the dental filling is done. It is advisable to wait until the effect of anesthesia wears off before having any food, as your mouth might not necessarily behave normally while numbing persists.

The treated tooth can often experience some sensitivity following the filling. This is the most common complaint from patients after having fillings done. Sensitivity could be due to hot, cold, air, pressure, or sweet foods. So it best to avoid such foods. Dentists recommend using a toothpaste that is designed for sensitive teeth during this time.

Sometimes the sensitivity might be due to the filling being very deep or it may be the result of the bonding technique. If it doesn’t settle, the dentist may repeat the filling or if it was very deep, place a sedative dressing to see if this settles things down before refilling.

Once the anesthetic has worn off, the tooth may feel a little rough. These are called high points, which occur when the dentist applies more filling in the area. Often this will smooth down after a couple of days of normal eating and chewing. This may cause ear pain, the inability to comfortably close your mouth, or even crack the filling. If it is particularly sharp or annoying, visit your dentist to have the area smoothed.

You may also notice tooth discoloration after this procedure. Whitening toothpaste may be of help or you may have your dentist do a quick bleach or whitening.

Maintenance of fillings is also very important. Good oral hygiene is very important. Visiting your dentist regularly for cleanings, brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and using an antibacterial mouthwash at least once daily all help.

Filling Allergies

Allergic reactions to silver fillings have rarely been reported. Mercury or one of the metals used in an amalgam restoration may trigger this allergic reaction. Symptoms of amalgam allergy are skin rashes and itching. Patients who suffer amalgam allergies typically have a medical or family history of allergies to metals. Once an allergy is confirmed, another restorative material can be used.

Dental Filling Maintenance

Teeth are used regularly throughout the day for chewing, biting, etc. This may lead to cracks, leaks, chips, and wearing out of fillings over time. Only a dentist can tell you if there is any wear and tear with the fillings and whether to take corrective measures. If these are not identified at the right time, it may lead to further damage and decay of the gums.

New fillings that fall out may be due to improper cavity preparation, contamination before the filling is placed, or a fracture of the filling from biting or chewing pain. Older restorations will generally be lost due to decay or fracture of the remaining tooth.  Always consult a dentist for any corrective or maintenance procedures.

Pregnancy and Dental Filling

Dental cleaning is recommended during pregnancy as gums swell and food particles enter the gums and cause infections. Dentists advise pregnant women to do lengthy dental procedures only between the first and second trimester of pregnancy. During the third trimester, it will not be easy to lie on your back for lengthy periods of time. Moreover, some research states that anesthesia used during the procedure crosses the placenta. X-ray is also best avoided during pregnancy so it is advisable to delay lengthy dental procedures until after the birth of the child.

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