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Fillings

1. Tooth coloured fillings

Necessity of tooth coloured fillings from experts

Dental cavities or cracked teeth call for tooth fillings. The feeling of sensitivity when eating or drinking warm or cold foods, problems in flossing, and the awareness of a chipped part on the tooth enamel – all indicate the need for cavity fillings. It should be mentioned here that these are not the only grounds where fillings might be necessary. Sometimes on inspecting a patient’s teeth, the dentist may find cavities which need filling.

In earlier days, people had their teeth filled with precious metals like gold, mercury and silver. Nowadays people mostly prefer a more natural colour of filling that will blend in with the rest of their teeth, giving a more uniform and absolutely normal look.

A typical dental cavity filling procedure comprises the following steps:

  • First the cavity area is determined and a local anaesthetic is injected to numb the area for the procedure
  • Next the detritus and decay from the tooth in question is removed by the use of dental instruments.
  • Thirdly, the composite filling material is applied on the tooth, to even out the surface and fill in the cavity. This composite material is tooth-coloured to ensure a natural match to the other teeth so that no visible anomaly is present.
  • Lastly the dentist has the patient open and shut their jaws to correct the bite. Any excess filling material is scraped off so as to make the patient comfortable with the filled in tooth.

Composite resin fillings are now the most popular cavity filling material. These provide a durable solution for small to medium-sized dental cavities and can be customised to match the existing colour of the patient’s teeth to give a normal look and feel.

Composite fillings are more difficult to put in because the oral cavity (mouth) has to be dry for it to properly set in. This is more expensive than the amalgam variety and there is no guarantee that it will be as or more durable than amalgam. However, the look and feel of the filled tooth is so utterly natural that this is the cavity filler of choice.

Why Should You Replace discoloured fillings

A dental cavity is repaired using filling material that is closest in shade to the patient’s tooth but as with normal teeth, sometimes, the filling material erodes unevenly and accumulates stains more easily than the rest of the tooth enamel. This is when the filling area appears discoloured and shows up as unsightly marks on the teeth.

To explain in greater detail, the composite (tooth coloured) filling materials are made partly of plastic resin and this resin can become porous on the surface picking up stains or appearing more yellow. The good news is that it is just the surface layer of the filling, which is affected by the discolouration, and if a few microns of it are removed then the area appears normal and uniform in colour. Opting for replacement of just the surface layers of the filling gives the tooth a new lease of life, which is advisable over repeated re-fillings, which result in dental decay and eventually a root canal has to be performed on the tooth.

Our dentists at Guardian Dental Care always recommend that those patients who have had their teeth filled should practice good oral hygiene in order to keep the discolouration of their fillings at bay. A solid regimen of brushing and flossing with six monthly dental check-ups is all it takes.

A stained restoration may or may not reveal underlying tooth decay. If the tooth is healthy and just the filling is discoloured, sometimes the dentist may just polish or buff the tooth with polishing discs to revitalise it. Another reason to replace tooth fillings is if the client has undergone a whitening procedure. This leaves the teeth looking whiter than the filled in portions, which then have to be polished or scraped and refilled to match the rest of the teeth colour.

White fillings can become stained particularly around the edges and this is generally treated by smoothing down the edges. In some cases, replacement is needed to get the desired result. White fillings may also change colour as time passes and hence have to be polished or treated to achieve cosmetically viable results.

Lost dental fillings and crowns are unsafe. Take professional help

Dental caps or crowns are coverings that are fitted on the part of the tooth visible above the gum line. Fillings are the materials used to insert and smoothen up cavities in the tooth. Sometimes when experiencing sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures inside the mouth or experiencing pain when biting or chewing from a specific part of the teeth, it can be that the dental cap or filling of a tooth has come of exposing the root, dental pulp or the nerve. This generally occurs because the tooth on which the cap or the filling is done has become decayed and is no longer able to hold that in place. It may also happen during chewing hard solid food and sometimes it is just due to natural wear and tear that the cap or the fillings loosen and dislodge.

There are a few steps to keep in mind when dental fillings or a crown comes loose.

Once the crown comes off inside the mouth, it should be removed immediately and kept aside. This is done primarily so that it does not become a choking hazard and secondly so that the dentist can examine it later and determine if it can be re-used.

An appointment at the earliest possible date with the dentist must be sought if a crown or filling comes loose. We at Guardian Dental Care treat this as a dental emergency and try to give our patients an appointment as soon as we can but in case there is a day or two to wait, the following steps should be followed.

If it is a crown that has fallen out, then a temporary fix can mean replacing the crown on the very tooth it has fallen from. This can be cemented in place with dental cement which can be found at most drugstores. The same is true for cavities.

To dull any excess pain or sensitivity, clove oil, which is easily available at medicine stores can be applied around the affected area.

Care should be taken while brushing and eating so as not to put excess pressure on that tooth.

Get your best gold teeth at Guardian Dental Care

The part of the tooth above the gum line is called the crown. Many dentists have used gold as an alloy for ages. Essentially gold was used for its malleability, ductility and hardness, which provides a good solid bite and the fact that it is almost immune to corrosion made it the material of choice. Gold alloys are used for fillings, crowns, bridges and orthodontic appliances. Gold is used in dentistry because it is chemically non-reactive, does not cause allergies and is easy for the dentist to work with. We at Guardian Dental Care strive to give our patients the utmost satisfaction in having gold teeth.

None of the metals used in dentistry, including gold, are used in their pure form. They are always used as alloys. This is because dental alloys are superior in terms of their physical properties than pure metals. There are three main types of alloys used in dentistry:

  • High noble alloys: 60% noble metal out of which 40% must be gold
  • Noble alloys: These alloys have about 25% precious metal content
  • Non-noble alloys: Here the precious metal content is less than 25% and the rest can be other metals like nickel, cobalt etc.

In the present day, many people wear gold teeth for cosmetic purposes and also as a status symbol. Gold teeth caps or grills as they are called are temporary teeth caps that have been worn by modern day celebrities sparking quite a demand for these materials. These cover the entire top or bottom surface of teeth and can be taken off at will for example, off for the workplace and on during personal time.

Gold teeth can be worn as implants and work much like normal implants, but they are largely used for show and status reasons.  Missing teeth can be replaced by dental implants that are "rooted" in the bone. They work and look just like real teeth. They are preferred over dentures by many adults. Such implants generally have two separate components- the main implant portion that is screwed onto the jawbone is made of titanium and the crown portion above the gum line can be made of gold.