Throughout our lifetime, there are many factors that may lead to you requiring restorative treatment. Even those with the best oral routine might need a filling. Whether by accident, natural wear and tear, poor oral health or by neglect over the years, your teeth may suffer from decay, cracks, and other imperfections.
A filling is a way to restore a tooth that has been damaged, in majority cases by decay back to its normal function and shape. Decay causes cavities or holes in your tooth where bacteria can enter and grow. Most cavities start silently, without symptoms or pain. To reduce the chance of tooth decay, it is important to maintain regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene at home.
Restorative fillings are an option to restore your teeth’s beauty, strength and functionality to help prevent further damage.
Common signs you may need a filling include:
- A hole in the tooth that is visible to see or feel with the tongue
- Decay sighted on an X-ray
- Sensitivity of the tooth to cold, heat or sugary foods
- Toothache or pain, in or near the tooth
- Discolouration or grey shadow of the tooth surface
Common cause of cavities
- Tooth decay, or cavities are from bacteria that has gained access to the tooth. If left untreated, cavities can lead to serious dental problems including pain, infection/ abscesses (sometimes requiring tooth removal)
- Enamel loss due to wear and abrasion causing tooth sensitivity.
- Fractured tooth caused by trauma.
- Crack lines due to either a heavy bite or grinding/clenching
- A broken or lost filling.
Having a filling is usually a pain free procedure.
If required, the dentist may need to numb you up. Then the decay will be removed, and replaced with a high quality, tooth-coloured composite resin material. The dentist will select a shade that is as close as possible to your natural tooth to complete this process. They will then check and adjust your bite (if required), and then the filling will then be polished. Composite filling materials usually have a life span of approximately 5 years, although they have the ability to last a lot longer with the correct oral health care.