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One option to improve the cosmetic look of your smile is to have your metal-coloured fillings replaced with tooth-coloured or `white` fillings. This is a safe procedure that entails one of our dentists removing any decay from your tooth, taking out the metal or amalgam filling and placing a tooth coloured filling instead. The new filling is made from a very hard substance and will withstand the forces in your mouth when you bite and chew over a long period of time. This will allow you to smile without a metallic glint in sight, giving your teeth a more natural appearance overall.
As dentists we believe prevention is always better than cure and will always encourage and help you to look after your teeth so you don`t develop tooth decay in the first place. If you do have decay and need a filling then we recommend white fillings as a good solution that is both aesthetic and functional.
Why Dental Fillings Are Important
Patients often experience tooth decay because of inappropriate nutritional habits, poor oral care at home or genetics leading to many cavities. Before creating a treatment plan, the dental professional will extensively review the patient’s medical history and their daily routine in efforts to detect any underlying issues such as medical ailments that may be the reason for exaggerated decay formation. According to collected information, a proper course of treatment is chosen including suitable dental materials most beneficial to the individual needs of each patient.
The Procedure of Tooth Filling
Although each procedure varies subtly, there are some basic guidelines to treat cavities, and they are followed by all dental professionals.
- The patient is anesthetized using local anesthesia such as Carbocaine for short procedures, Lidocaine for medium length sessions, and Marcaine for multiple fillings. Patients with feelings of anxiety may be offered Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) for the duration of the treatment. Only in extreme cases, the patient is given IV sedation or general anesthesia and may be referred to a more suitable dental setting such as a hospital.
- The area to be treated is secured by latex sheet that protects the tooth and keeps it dry during the procedure. It also prevents the debris from entering the oral region keeping the patient comfortable. For multiple fillings, when the treatment may require extended period of time, a bite block is used to help the patient keep their mouth open in a relaxed position without any strain on the jaw muscles.
- In case of composite fillings, the shade is chosen to closely mimic the appearance of the surrounding dentition.
- The decay is removed using a high-speed handpiece, slow-speed handpiece, laser or the combination of all three devices. The prepared surface may be etched with an appropriate solution to remove any remaining bacteria and create a porous layer for adhesive purposes. Amalgam or resin material is placed in small increments using hand instruments. The biting surface is then checked and adjusted as necessary.
Filling placement is necessary to treat cavities and prolong the longevity of the natural teeth. With today’s technology continuously improving, new methods are developed to benefit the patients and ensure their positive oral health for a lifetime.