When do you need a Filling?

Fillings are most commonly applied when you have a cavity. You also have a filling when you get cracked or broken teeth or when there is excessive wear on your teeth through habits like nail biting or using your teeth to open things or tooth grinding(also called bruxism).

However the most common reason for a filling is due to a cavity and so in order to understand how a filling is done you must first understand how cavities form. Watch this video below to get more information on cavity formation.

How we determine if you have Tooth Decay?

There are several methods

  • Observation: This is done with a metal instrument called an explorer. It has a sharp tip, to probe for decay. Healthy tooth enamel is hard and will resist pressure by the explorer. Decayed enamel is softer. The instrument will stick in it slightly.
  • Cavity-detecting dye: This can be rinsed over your tooth. It will stick to decayed areas and rinse cleanly from healthy ones.
  • X-rays: X-rays can help see decay that doesn’t show on the surface. However, they are often not accurate in detecting smaller cavities on upper surfaces. Current fillings or other restorations also may block the view of decay.

How filling is done?

You may first be given a local anesthesia to numb the area if necessary. Next, we remove all decay from the tooth, using hand instruments or a drill.

Once all the decay is removed, we shape the space to prepare it for the filling. Different types of fillings require different shaping procedures to make sure they will stay in place.

Certain types of fillings get hardened by a special light. With these fillings the procedure may stop several times to shine a bright light on the resin. This cures (hardens) the material and makes it strong.

Finally, after the filling is placed, the tooth is polised. For an understanding of the filling procedure watch the video below.

Some people feel sensitivity after they receive a filling. The tooth may be sensitive to pressure, air, sweet foods or cold. In most cases, the sensitivity will subside over one to two weeks. Until then, try to avoid anything that causes it. If your tooth is extremely sensitive or your sensitivity does not decrease after two weeks, give us a call. It is important to let us know about any sensitivity you are feeling.

The next time you need a filling we may be able to use a different material and make changes to reduce sensitivity. People vary in their response to different materials and there is no way of predicting if your tooth will react to a particular material.

Besides sensitivity, some people feel discomfort when they bite down. Once again remember we are only a phone call away. Please feel free to call us on 1300 32 TEETH.