Categories: Cosmetic DentistryDentistry


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Most of us at some point in our lives have a cavity created by decay. Decay is a disease that fastly destroys the enamel of the tooth and then goes inwards to the next layer dentim and then to the pulp chamber. This is when we all suffer unbearable pain. A cavity calls for the decay to be removed, cleaned and the area filled in order to prevent further decay and strengthen the affected tooth. Over the last few years there have been many advances in detistry that make the treatment process safer, more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.

Reasons for having a filling.

1. To clean out decay in a broken, leaking or cracked tooth
2. To alleviate pain caused by the decay.
3. To strengthen and enhance the natural tooth structure

Reasons for replacing fillings.

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Fillings do not last forever, the average span of an amalgam filling is 5-12 years and compbsite ^fillings slightly less although they can be known to last up to 15 years. They may crack, wear out or leak over time due to the pressures of eating and chewing or even fall out. Shrinking, cracks or leaks in teeth with existing fillings may allow food debris and bacteria that is in the mouth to leak into the tooth under the filling. As this cannot be cleaned it forms acid it is this that causes thejopth decay.

Many people are choosing to have white fillings done or to replace their metal fillings with composite fillings because they blend well with tooth enamel, they require less of the healthy part of the tooth to be removed and they want their teeth to look natural when they laugh, talk and smile.



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The dentist will remove decay from the tooth, using hand instruments or a drill. The drill (handpiece) uses metal cones called burs to cut through the enamel and remove the decay. Burs come in many shapes and sizes and your dentist will choose the ones that are right for the size and location of your decay.

At first your dentist will use a high speed drill (the one with the familiar whinig sound) to dut through the hard enamel. He or she will prcisely outline the cavity with the drill, removing only enough tooth material so the filling material can be placed properly. Once the drill reaches the dentin, or second layer of the tooth, the dentist may use a lower speed drill because dentin is softer than enamel.
To clean out the decay, your dentist may use a round bur. Throughout the removal process, your dentist will test the area with the explorer to see if all the decay has been removed. Once all the decay is removed your dentist will shape the space to prepare it for the filling. Different types of fillings require different shaping procedures to make sure they will stay in place.

Temporary fillings

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Temporary fillings are just that. They are not meant to last. Usually, they fall out, fracture or wear out within a month or two. If you get a temporary filling make sure you visit your dentist to get a permanent one. If you dont your tooth could become infected or you could have other complications.
You may receive a temporary filling (usually white, off white or grey) if – Your treatment requires more than one appointment – Your dentist wants to wait for a short period of time for the tooth to heal – You have a deep cavity and the pulp (nerve and blood vessels) becomes exposed during treatment – You need emergency dental treatment.
Temporary fillings may have a sedative effect on the tooth. The tooth may feel better after a temporary filling is placed. This is because the filling seals the tooth, protecting the pulp from bacteria and reducing sensitivity.
Temporary fillings often contain eugenol, and ingredient in over the counter toothache remedies that is known to have light anesthetic properties. Eugenol is also a component of oil of cloves, which people use for toothace pain.
To help your fillings last you should maintain a healthy diet and have a regular teeth cleaning programme. You should visit the dentist regularly for cleaning and check up.

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