What is a Filling?
A filling is a way to restore a damaged tooth caused by decay, back to its normal function and shape. When a dentist gives you a filling, he or she first removes the decayed tooth material, cleans the affected area, and then fills the cleaned-out cavity with a filling material.
By closing the cavity where bacteria can enter, a filling also helps prevent further decay. Materials used for fillings include gold, porcelain, a composite resin (tooth-coloured fillings), and an amalgam (an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin and sometimes zinc).
How Do I Know if I Need a Filling?
Only your dentist can detect whether you have a cavity that needs to be filled. During a checkup, your dentist will use a small mirror to examine the surfaces of each tooth.
Anything that looks abnormal will then be closely checked with special instruments. Your dentist may also X-ray your entire mouth or a section of it. The type of treatment your dentist chooses will depend on the extent of damage caused by decay.
Which Type of Filling is Best?
No one type of filling is best for everyone. What’s right for you will be determined by the extent of the repair, whether you have allergies to certain materials, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and the cost. Considerations for different materials include:
- Composite (plastic) resinsare matched to be the same colour as your teeth and therefore used where a natural appearance is desired. The ingredients are mixed and placed directly into the cavity, where they harden. Composites may not be the ideal material for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time. They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco, and do not last as long as other types of fillings which is generally from three to 10 years.
- GIC – Glass ionomer cement is made from a mixture of glass and an organic acid; glass ionomer cement is a tooth-coloured filling material available in different shades. It requires minimum tooth reduction and bonds chemically to the tooth. It is used for filling and cementing. It is also used as a dental sealant. Due to its fluoride releasing property and requirement of less tooth preparation, it is the material of choice for filling cavities in milk teeth.
What Happens When You get a Filling?
If your dentist decides to fill a cavity, he or she will first remove the decay and clean the affected area. The cleaned-out cavity will then be filled with any of the variety of materials described above.
How long will the filling stay? Are there any side effects?
The filling can stay for years if maintained well. They might discolour but they can be polished.
There are no such side effects after doing a tooth filling. Some patients may experience sensitivity during and/or post procedure.
What is the after care for a filling?
There are no specific precautions. Patients can eat or drink almost immediately. You must avoid hot, cold or sweet foods in case of any sensitivity.
Once the filling is done, will the tooth decay again?
This depends upon the maintenance of the filling.
Certain factors like diet, composition of saliva etc. can influence the recurrence of decay
How much does a filling cost?
GIC filling – INR 525/-
Composite filling posterior – INR 825/-