Everything You Need to Know About Dental Fillings

Published On: January 28, 2022

Dental fillings are made of two main products, the resin material mixed with colored powders or pigments to create a particular shade or color, and an essential ingredient called a filler.

What is a Dental Filling?

A dental filling, also known as a “tooth filling”, is restoring tooth structure damaged by external factors. This restoration aims to prevent infection from spreading into the dentin (the sensitive inner area) of the tooth. A dental filling protects the tooth and its surrounding gums when the tooth is repaired.

When is a Dental Filling Needed?

Because a dental filling prevents the spread of tooth decay or gum disease, it is often recommended to replace a damaged filling when one shows signs of porcelain. A porcelain restoration creates an excellent seal between the tooth and the surrounding gum tissue. Though this seal may not last forever, it provides an outstanding level of protection from infection.

Dental fillings are also used to treat dental issues, such as:

  • Cavities- Cavities occur when bacteria destroy teeth decay and the surrounding tissue. The bacteria can then infect other healthy tooth structures, leading to large cavities that are easily visible in the mouth. 
  • Crowns- A dental crown covers the entire tooth, including the root. This dental restoration can work to protect the tooth from further decay or trauma and help hold a dental filling in place. 
  • Root canals- Root canals are used to treat teeth that have been severely damaged by infection. The canal removes the infected material and re-establishes a healthy level of bacteria in the mouth while reinforcing tissue around the tooth.

How are Dental Fillings Made?

Dental fillings are usually made by mixing a resin composite with a filler material, such as glass ionomer cement. The glass ionomer can be hardened and polished to enhance the restoration’s aesthetics.

The following steps indicate how a dental filling is made:

Step 1: The Tooth is Prepared

After tooth decay has been removed and any cavities have been filled, the tooth needs to be prepared for a dental filling. If a tooth has cracked or received excessive trauma, then additional steps may need to be taken before the filling is placed. This could include the placement of a crown or root canal.

Step 2: The Resin/Filler Mix is Applied

The resin/filler is mixed together and applied to the tooth structure.

Step 3: Cure

Once the resin has been applied, it is cured using a light-curing unit, which emits ultraviolet light to harden the mixture.

Step 4: Polish

A fine layer of hardening material is applied over it to create a strong bond between the filling and tooth structure. A mixture of epoxy resin and a powder is used, which is then polished to enhance the aesthetics of the filling.

Step 5: Clean

To protect a patient from bacteria, it is necessary to clean the area before the dental filling is applied.

Step 6: Test

A dentist may recommend that you wait 24 hours before brushing your teeth after the dental filling has been placed. This will allow any discomfort caused by the light-curing unit or injectable material to subside. If you notice any pain or discomfort after this time, ask your dentist about it to perform any further treatments.

Step 7: Maintain

To reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, it is necessary to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth regularly, visiting the dentist for regular check-ups, and attending professional dental cleanings every six months.

In conclusion, a dental filling is the restoration of tooth structure damaged by tooth decay or gum disease. A dental filling, or simply a filling, prevents oral cavity infections from spreading into the dentin. Therefore, a dental filling protects the tooth and the surrounding gums when an initial restoration cannot protect them. The resin material mixed with colored powders or pigments in a dental filling creates an excellent seal between the tooth and the surrounding gum tissue.

For more information on dental fillings or to see if you are eligible for a dental filling, contact the experts at RenovaSmiles.