A filling, or what we call a restoration, is the clinical process of replacing or restoring the cavity or hole produced by tooth decay. Tooth decay is the result of bacteria entering through the hard enamel surface of the tooth and then disolving the softer dentine causing pain and discomfort.
There are basically four stages to producing a filling:
- To anaesthetise the tooth so that you feel no pain.
- To prepare the tooth to remove all traces of disease (decay).
- To line the cavity to protect the nerve in the tooth and to kill off any remaining bacteria.
- To replace the lost tooth tissue with a restorative material (filling).
We can now offer you a choice of restorative material (filling).
Old fashioned grey amalgam fillings are a basic restoration where a silver mercury amalgam is physically packed into the cavity. This is a cheap, easy and reliable restoration, but will often require more sound tooth to be removed during preparation as well as weakening the tooth further.
The alternative is to consider one of the newer bonded restorations, which in most cases provide a better long term filling. From a clinical point of view, bonded fillings require the destruction of less sound tooth tissue, and because of the bonding system, will make the tooth stronger, as well as sealing the tooth and therefore reducing sensitivity and preventing the bacteria ‘getting under’ the filling to cause further disease. Not only that, but many bonded fillings actively release fluoride which will combat further decay.
Bonded restorations can be either of low mercury amalgam, or modern tooth coloured composite resin. The advantage of composite is that only you know you have a filling!
We will always recommend the most clinically appropriate restoration for each case.