For sure, almost everyone knows what a tooth filling is, because we all have visited a dentist at least once in our life. And if earlier such a visit caused only horror and discomfort, now everything has changed significantly, and dental treatment has become almost painless. Filling material is also changing, and now, coming to the dentist with a sick tooth, you really have plenty to choose from. To avoid such confusion, we will consider below what types of tooth filling exist today.
1. Cement Seals
The oldest variant of tooth filling, probably this was still in your grandmother's tooth. The installation of such a filing is for free, however, it has a lot of drawbacks: low strength, high toxicity and negative impact on the tooth pulp – which in time can lead to repeated caries. In addition, such fillings serve no more than two years.
2. Glass-ionomer fillings
Relate to a variety of cement fillings, but do not have a negative effect on the pulp, because they release fluoride when contacting the tooth. Their service life is approximately five years, however, such a seal is considered to be quite fragile and quickly erased.
3. Iron fillings
They consist of metal alloy and mercury and can serve for decades. Also differ in the budget price and do not allow to develop a repeated form of caries. From the negative aspects, one can note the controversial influence of mercury on the state of human health, as well as the question of aesthetics – after all, the iron seal will be very noticeable in the mouth.
4. Composite fillings
They are divided into two types: composites of chemical curing and reflective composites.
In the first type, filler itself hardens very quickly, so the dentist should not only apply a composite on the tooth in two minutes, but also give it necessary shape. Such filling serves for not more than three years.
Reflective composite will help to transform procedure of filling into a real restoration – the process is carried out in several stages and doctor dries each layer with a special lamp, giving a tooth the most advantageous appearance. Such fillings have much longer life, but with significant tooth defects, they are ineffective.
If a large tooth cavity is damaged, then there are special tabs that are micro-prostheses made of ceramics or metal. They are pasted into cavity of the tooth with help of composite material and are an excellent alternative to crowns. Their installation is possible even in a tooth with thin walls, and service life is not less than 10 years. In addition, they do not differ from the teeth in look, so do not spoil the beauty of your smile.
Before the filling, a dentist examines the damaged tooth. If necessary, X-ray of the tooth is done to determine the degree of damage and the need for endodontic treatment (treatment of the tooth canals). A direct method is performed in one visit to the dentist.
The dentist drills out a tooth area affected by caries and prepares a hole for insertion of the filling material.
In order to restore anatomical shape of the tooth, during filling process, a special metal tape (matrix) is placed around a tooth, and small wooden pegs are inserted between the band and the teeth next to each other. Thus, it is possible to accurately insert a filling material into the tooth opening and form a correct shape of a new tooth, as well as contact point with the adjacent teeth. A dentist also very carefully prepares outer surface of the tooth to avoid possibility of secondary caries (caries under the tooth filling).
In order to disinfect a tooth hole and prepare it for insertion of the filling material, a dentist treats the hole with a special gel. After that, the hole is rinsed and dried.
The surface of the tooth hole is covered with a special connecting substance and illuminated with a heliolamp (a blue-light curing lamp that ensures solidification of the material). Thus, filling closes to the tooth surface as closely as possible.
If a tooth is damaged deeply, but soft tissues are not affected and there is no need for endodontics, a dentist also uses a special lining to protect the pulp (dental nerve) from irritation.
When the hole is prepared for tooth filling, a filling material is inserted into it. The filling material must be carefully compacted so that during the filling process no micropores are formed. The dentist gradually and in small portions puts the filling material, treating each portion with a heliolamp. This ensures effective hardening of the filling material and its tight fit to the tooth. It is very important to form an anatomically accurate plombage, so that filling completely approaches the properties of the occlusion in terms of height.
When filling is installed, the dentist polishes the tooth, so that the surface is smooth and there is no plaque on it.
When filling teeth with a direct method, the patient has opportunity to choose between a silver amalgam fill and a composite (white) filling. The advantage of silver amalgam fillings is a long service life, high stability, and also a lesser likelihood of plaque formation around the plombaged tooth. But a silver filling has one drawback – a non-aesthetic color. In turn, the tone of composite or white fillings can match to the color of the patient’s natural teeth. However, a composite material decreases slightly during the filling, so it is used to correct small defects.