Fillings are used to fill holes (cavities) that have formed, usually as a result of decay or tooth wear. There are many types of filling, each suitable for different cavities.
Most people have a local anaesthetic injection to completely numb the area while the filling is being done. The numbness can take several hours to wear off.
If you’re nervous about having an injection, ask your dentist if you can have an anaesthetic gel applied to the appropriate area of the gum instead. This gel numbs the gum so you can’t feel the needle.
The decayed and weakened parts of the tooth are removed using small drills and the cavity is cleaned. If the cavity has spread to the side wall of your tooth, a band will be placed around the tooth with a small wedge holding it in place. This ensures that the filling hardens into the correct shape.
To protect the tiny nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth, very thin layers of underlinings, such as resin, are sometimes painted inside the hole before the filling material is packed in. The filling will either begin to harden during the first few minutes or, for some materials, a blue light is used to make it set within a few seconds.
Sometimes temporary fillings are used, at emergency appointments for example, where there may not be enough time to do the full treatment. Temporary fillings can last for quite a long time, but they aren’t very strong so you will need to arrange to have a durable filling placed within a few weeks.
Read more about the types of dental fillings available at Tracey Bell below:
This is a form of silver filling that is commonly used to replace a tooth. Amalgam fillings are made of a combination of metals including silver, tin, copper and mercury. Amalgam is extremely durable and able to withstand the grinding and chewing of your back teeth over long periods of time. Many people now choose to have their silver fillings replaced by white composite fillings or ceramic inlays to make their smile look healthier and whiter. However, most Amalgam restorations stand the test of time, lasting up to 12 years whereas resin-based composites can serve only half this time.
Modern white fillings are known as composite resins in the dental world. They are a combination of a resin and nano-particles of glass.
White fillings for teeth and inlays stick to the teeth and reinforces their strength. The enhanced cosmetic benefit of a white filling allows us to colour match the correct shade of white to your teeth. This creates complete invisibility, restoring the natural appearance of your teeth. Much like Amalgam fillings, white fillings are used to replace decay or cosmetically and they can replace an old silver filling.
On average White Fillings should last for 7-10 years. At The Tracey Bell Clinic, we advise that white fillings work better for you when the cavity to be replaced is small to medium in size. When a larger filling is required, a porcelain inlay or porcelain inlay is a better option.
At The Tracey Bell Clinic, we have the experience and expertise to bring together the various advanced dental disciplines, which are required to create white fillings. Not only do they look great but they function correctly, meaning a happier, healthier you for many years to come.
Porcelain fillings are made from porcelain and fit into or onto the tooth. Porcelain is the middleman of the cosmetic filling world. When there is not enough tooth structure to support a white filling, but there is enough tooth to avoid using a crown, a porcelain filling is selected. It is a better choice over a crown as it is less destructive to the tooth.
Porcelain fillings take only two visits to complete. Firstly, we use our expertise at Tracey Bell to remove the decayed tooth or old filling rather painlessly. After one to two weeks, we bond the porcelain inlay, which fits exactly to the tooth.
The most exciting thing about porcelain fillings is their durability. Outliving white fillings, they can last up to 30 years. Fillings are also often known to reduce the strength of a tooth, porcelain, however, can actually increase a tooth’s strength.
Gold fillings are often suggested as an alternative to silver amalgam fillings. The benefits of gold fillings, here at Tracey Bell, are that they are far stronger than an amalgam filling and therefore less likely to fracture. The gold filling procedure is very similar to the two-visit procedure porcelain filling requires. The gold filling is custom made, modelled on your teeth to enable a tight fit between the gold and adjacent tooth. This stops food particles being lodged and will prevent any gum problems.
When decay sets in, sometimes it can go below the gum level. This makes it difficult to get a good seal between a silver amalgam filling and the tooth. A good seal is guaranteed with a gold filling: an impression of the tooth is taken so the gold can be modelled for that exact fit. The filling is also less likely to fail, as decay won’t be able to set in at the margin of the filling and tooth.
At Tracey Bell, we suggest a gold filling where an amalgam filling for a larger cavity would cause the tooth to fracture. The gold fillings offer some support for your remaining tooth and help to prevent fracturing. Continual stresses due to eating and chewing can cause portions of your tooth to fracture. The larger the silver amalgam filling the greater the risk. In such cases, your dentist may suggest a gold filling because they can be made in such a way to support the remaining tooth and help to prevent fracturing occurring.
CEREC stands for Ceramic (CE) Reconstruction (REC). The process uses Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM) to produce an extremely high-quality ceramic filling and restoration in a single visit.
CEREC is a superior quality ceramic filling, that is carried out in a single visit. Where a tooth’s remaining structure has been compromised and prone to fracture, CEREC filling is the ideal solution. The ceramic filling is superior to the white fillings in these situations and it also has better aesthetic qualities.
The ceramic used is an ideal material that supports and stabilises the tooth when it is prone to fracture. It has an inert strength and an ability to be bonded to the tooth. Unlike other restorative materials, CEREC has similar biocompatible properties as the remaining tooth structure; it can expand and contract with temperature changes just as a tooth would react. Bonding is literally the “super-glueing” of the ceramic to the remaining tooth structure. The ceramic and tooth become one strong unit.
We also advise the use of CEREC in areas where a crown has been recommended. It is less traumatic to the nerve of your tooth and less structure needs be removed.
How does it work?
- The defective filling material and decay are removed. A healthy tooth support is left for the new restoration.
- A reflective powder is then applied and the cavity is scanned. An optical 3D image is taken.
- The ceramic restoration is then designed on the computer screen using the image data.
- The restoration is then milled automatically from a solid industrially produced block of ceramic, which produces a restoration so precise that it may be fitted and bonded immediately.
What are the benefits?
- Time Saving: the process can be completed in a single visit.
- Protects and preserves the structure of the tooth.
- Ceramic material used is biocompatible.
- Perfect in appearance and quality.
- Long lasting and hard wearing.
Risks of Fillings
- As with any elective dental treatment, there are great benefits but there may also be risks involved. Our clinicians at Tracey Bell are more than happy to discuss any concerns with you.
- Food sensitivities, pain and discomfort following treatment
- Tooth sensitivity can occur after treatment, usually subsiding within one to two weeks
- Pains when biting can occur – this will worsen over time. Pain will occur immediately after the anaesthetic has worn off. You must notify your dentist who can make some adjustments to reshape the filling
- Galvanic shock can occur. A sharp pain when your teeth are touched. This is when two metals within your mouth produce an electric current- this may be due to an old filling touching your new filling. Inform your dentist and they will adjust to stop the pain
- Sharp edges may remain, this can be smoothed by the dentist