In case of tooth decay, filling is a necessary step to ensure the health of teeth and the gums. There are many ways to find out if tooth decay as occurred. Apart from decay, there can other reasons where filling is required such as cracked or broken tooth, to overcome effects of nail-biting and bruxism etc.
Sometimes discoloured spot appears on the decayed teeth. The enamel of the decayed teeth become soft that can be examined by using metal instrument with a tip.
Cavity detecting dye
The teeth are bathed with the cavity detecting dye. It sticks to the decayed areas of the teeth whereas cleanly comes off the healthy teeth.
X-ray can also be used to detect the decaying teeth but it is not very accurate when detecting cavitied on the top surfaces.
Laser fluorescence cavity detection aids
Laser fluorescence can be used to detect cavities specially in the molar and premolar teeth. It is also useful for the pit and fissure areas.
Steps to filling
Local anaesthesia is given in the start of the filling process. After that a drill or laser is used to remove the decay with the metal cones (burs) in the handpiece. High speed drill is used on the enamel and low speed on the dentin.
After removing the decay, a base made up of composite resins or zinc oxide is used to protect the pulp (nerve ccontaining area). Bonded filling is used to prevent the decay under the filling. A special light is used to harden the filling. In the end the filling is polished to level any sharp edges left during the procedure.
After a filling
Sensitivity is a major issue after filling, especially after composite filling. Galvanic shock can occur when the metals in the upper and the lower layer meet each other and produce an electric current.
Temporary fillings can be used in case of any dental emergency, if the cavity reaches the pulp and it time is required for the tooth to heal. Temporary fillings cannot last for long and eventually they need to be replaced with a permanent filling
In the course of time the fillings become discoloured and wear out due to the pressure exerted during chewing. The discoloured filling catch stains that darken over time. The fillings need to be replaced to save the tooth from further decay.
Leaking and falling out fillings
The filling can fall out if making hard use of the tooth, immense pressure and if saliva mixes with the cavity during filling. Filling can also leak if it doesn’t fit the tooth properly. It can lead to sensitivity and inflammation.
Keeping the fillings
Fillings can last up to 12 years sometimes, but it should not be kept for more than five years. X-rays can be used to detect any crack, leaking and damage. If teeth become sensitive, any crack appears or a part of filling is missing the dentist should be contacted as soon as possible. In case of large number of fillings, fluoride gel recommended by the dentist should be used at home. Fluoride varnishes can be applied during regular check-ups.
Clenching and grinding
Filling can be bothered with clenching and grinding. These forces can introduce sensitivity to the tooth. Clenching and grinding can result into cracks that can be detected by shining light on the teeth.
With fillings, visiting the dentist regularly, brushing teeth with fluoride toothpaste and keeping an eye on the changes occurring to the filling is the best approach.