A root canal is a dental procedure that involves cleaning out the contents of the pulp chamber of the tooth. The procedure allows the dentist to save a tooth with a compromised chamber. Local anesthetics are often administered prior to performing a root canal, and that prevents the patient from feeling anything as the dentist…
Quick Guide to the Dental Filling Procedure
A dental filling is the standard way to treat cavities. These are tiny openings/holes that form in teeth due to tooth decay. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria living in the mouth that convert the sugars in food particles in the mouth into acids that erode teeth.
Tooth decay is a common dental problem, and it is easier to treat in its early stages. The earliest stage can be reversed with fluoride treatments, while a dental filling can be used once a cavity forms on the patient's teeth.
Tooth decay is progressive, and it will get worse the longer that it is left untreated. Cavities will expand until they compromise the pulp chamber, leaving the blood vessels and nerves there exposed to bacteria and irritants in the mouth. That can lead to an infection of the affected tooth. An infection requires more invasive treatments, like root canal therapy or extracting the tooth if the bacteria threatens to spread to the bloodstream. An extraction is typically used as a last resort when the damage caused by tooth decay is too severe to save the tooth.
What to expect when getting a dental filling
Fixing cavities with dental fillings is a straightforward process. Patients rarely feel pain during their treatments because they are usually injected with a local anesthetic to numb the area being treated.
The dentist removes decayed teeth material from the tooth and fills up any holes created by tooth decay with filling material. The material is poured into the affected tooth and hardens when exposed to saliva or air. The filling seals the hole created by tooth decay, preventing bacteria from expanding it. The filling also prevents irritants in the mouth from reaching the inner, more sensitive layers of teeth, where it can cause toothaches and irritation.
There are a variety of materials that can be used as filling material. These include the following.
These have historically been the most common type of fillings. It involves using a filling material that is an alloy of silver, mercury and other metals. Amalgam fillings offer great longevity, but they have a grey color that can ruin the aesthetics of a patient's teeth.
These are becoming increasingly popular as the standard way to fill up cavities due to the great aesthetics that they provide and their affordability. The composites used are mixtures of glass and plastics, and they can be color-matched with the rest of the patient's teeth. However, composite resin fillings also happen to be one of the least durable types.
Porcelain fillings also create great aesthetics, but they often require more than one trip to the clinic. These types of fillings are typically made with an impression of the tooth being treated, then they are cemented to it to complete the treatment. Waiting for a dental lab to make the restoration is why this type of dental filling usually requires multiple visits to a dentist.
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