What Are Dental Fillings?
Dental fillings are materials inserted into a decayed or damaged tooth cavity to help restore normal tooth function. They are typically made of silver, porcelain, plastic, or other composite materials.
Dentists will recommend the use of dental fillings if it is still possible to recover affected tooth without the need to extract it. Some teeth may only have one side, or one part of decay or damage, so it is best to save them. In the case of a partially damaged tooth, the use of dental fillings is the next best step since further enamel loss can be prevented once the dental fillings are positioned in the tooth cavity.
How a Dental Filling Procedure Work?
Dental filling procedures may be requested specifically prior to meeting your dentist, or he may discover tooth decay and damage during a routine dental check up, and act from there. With your permission, your dentist can prepare the affected tooth/teeth, and perform the procedure in just one session.
If extensive tooth damage is detected, your dentist will also request to take tooth X-rays. He will inform you about the different dental filling materials available based on your dental history, your preferences, extent of tooth damage, location of tooth decay, etc.
The dentist will first prepare the affected tooth by removing the decayed parts, and isolating them from other healthy teeth. The tooth is also cleansed with aseptic.
Next, a local anesthetic is applied to the area near the affected tooth. You will truly not feel a thing.
After that, the affected tooth is filled with either composite or amalgam fillings. The fillings are shaped to match normal tooth patterns, then dried using a bonding light.
The entire procedure may take 2 to 3 hours or more depending on the number of teeth that require dental fillings.
Dental Fillings Aftercare
Tooth with dental fillings are less likely to develop further sensitivity and enamel loss. However, you still need to brush at least twice a day, and floss. Composite dental fillings can last up to 5-6 years while amalgam (silver) dental fillings can last up to 12 years.
With a healthy diet and good oral hygiene, you are guaranteed to enjoy a decay-free set of pearly whites.
Dental Filling Cost
The cost of having dental fillings largely depend on the professional fees of your dentist, the extent of tooth damage, and your chosen filling material.
Composite dental fillings are more modern, yet expensive filling options. They cost about $240 per filling. On the other hand, silver or amalgam fillings costs only $200 per filling, and you can expect them to last for up to 12 years. These are only average rates, so be sure consult your dentist prior to agreeing to the procedure.