What is Dental Fillings? Its Types, Cost and After Care

Tooth decay is one of the most common health issue through out the world. Almost 96% of Canadian adults have at least one tooth decayed or filled. Same for school children, around 60% have damaged teeth and fillings.

Dental Fillings

What is a Dental Filling?

A dental filling is a way to restore the tooth from the bacterial attack that produce acid on the tooth surface due to excess eating of sugary foods, poor oral hygiene or any traumatic injury and creates cavities. But thanks to our teeth Saviour’s- our Dentists who help in fighting dental caries and cavities by filling up the tooth. Fillings replace the decayed tooth by giving it a new life. 

Types of Dental Fillings

Silver Amalgam Fillings

They are very strong, sturdy and the durability of these restorations is very high. They can last up to 12 years or more if taken care properly. But because of poor aesthetics, some people hesitate for such fillings. 

Composite Fillings

They are close to the colour of the tooth and that is the reason despite being expensive, they are the choice of patients. 

Ceramic Fillings

These fillings are made of porcelain and hence patients found them very attractive. The disadvantage of such fillings is that they start getting rough due to the constant force of chewing

Glass Ionomers

They are also called acrylic fillings. These are aesthetically acceptable by people. Such restorations are good for young children. The main advantage of these fillings is that they release fluoride which plays a very important role in prevention of caries.

Gold Alloys

These are a mixture of gold, copper and other metals. They are quite expensive but are long-lasting. 

Dental Fillings 1

Cost of Tooth Fillings

Composites are more expensive than silver amalgam because of the expensive materials used in making them. Various other factors that affects the cost are:-

  • Dental specialist’s fees.
  • Location of the tooth to be filled. 
  • Dental insurance – If one has dental insurance, out of pocket costs would be very less.
  • If there is a need for sedation to perform the tooth filling process, it may cost a little more.
  • Some several low-income dental offices and schemes may provide discounts.

How Long do Dental Fillings Last?

Silver amalgam is more long-lasting than composite fillings. 

How to Decide which type of Filling you Need?

Composites are more aesthetic as they give a natural tooth appearance. But they require more dentist skills than silver amalgam. So, Always talk freely with your dentist about the treatment, cost, time, durability of the filling material, further tooth decay in future and then decide on the restoration you need.

Tooth Sensitivity after Dental Filling?

Tooth sensitivity is quite common after a filling is done. There might be pain while eating, consuming sweet foods, hot and cold beverages can also induce pain. Need not worry! It goes away on its own within few weeks. But if the sensitivity continues or increases, contact your dentist. He/she may recommend desensitizing toothpaste

Are People Allergic to Amalgam Restoration?

According to American Dental Association, an allergic reaction can occur but it’s very rare. Mercury present in an amalgam restoration can cause an allergic reaction. It may cause skin rashes or itching like any other allergy. Consult your dentist if you have any skin rash or itching and once the allergy is confirmed, another restorative material can be used. 

In Canada, silver amalgam is the most commonly used filling material. But dentists have disagreed over its safety since 1840 as it contains mercury which may cause toxicity and damage to our body organs. But further studies by the Canadian Dental Association and Health Canada agreed that the mercury amount released doesn’t cause any health risk.

Is there any Need of Replacing a Tooth Filling?

The answer is YES. With time, due to constant masticatory forces, the filling may get chip off or cracked. There are chances of further decay as well. So, you should replace your filling with a new one if there’s any damage to it because if cavities are left unfilled, they can grow big and can cause pain, food accumulation, and pus that will cause further damage to the roots. 

Amalgam Filling

extracted tooth lying on a black shiny background with extraction forceps visible

Care and Prevention

  • Flossing and brushing twice daily can prevent caries and cavities in teeth.
  • Regular visits every six months and professional cleanings twice a year. 
  • Avoid intake of more sugary foods like candies, chocolates, sweets, carbonated drinks. 

Conclusion

If you are not careful what you eat, your tooth will decay. It’s your smile; keep it healthy, comfortable and brilliant.

References

Center for Devices and Radiological Health. (2021, February 18). Dental Amalgam Fillings. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/dental-devices/dental-amalgam-fillings

Clinician’s Guide to the Diagnosis and Management of Tooth Sensitivity. (2014). Germany: Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Dr Deepak Kansal

Dr Deepak Kansal is a dentist, who is currently working in Sri Ganganagar. He did his Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Rajasthan University of Health Science.

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