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What are dental fillings?

Dental fillings are the most common form of treatment in order to help with the general wear and tear of your teeth over the years. Over time, your teeth begin to form small holes or slightly decay due to dietary choices, oral hygiene that may not be as thorough as it is supposed to be, and minerals found in tap water amongst other causes. At Cheam Village Dental Studios, we highly recommend visiting your dentist in Cheam regularly to detect any signs of decay that may require filling before further damage occurs.

Why do I need fillings?

Dental fillings are used to fill small holes or cavities caused by tooth decay. When bacteria responsible for causing decay, comes into contact with sugars and starch from food and drinks, it creates an acid which attacks the surface of the tooth known as the enamel, causing it to lose minerals. As the tooth is repeatedly exposed to acid through food and drink, the enamel continues to lose minerals and a small white small begins to appear where the mineral has been lost. This can be classified as the earlier sign of tooth decay and at this point the decay is reversible via oral hygiene measures such as brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste. However, if the decay is not targeted at this point and you continue to lose minerals, the enamel weakens and eventually breaks down thus forming a cavity. If your cavities are not treated you may experience pain, infection and sometimes even tooth loss.

What are the different types of fillings I can get?

There are two main types of fillings that your dentist in Cheam may use for your teeth: amalgam or composite. Amalgam fillings are silver coloured fillings composed of a mixture of copper, tin and mercury and are suitable for adults and children over the age of six. Amalgam is tough and can therefore last for up to ten years if maintained properly. Composite fillings are ceramic, and tooth coloured and are usually used for the teeth that are more visible due to their natural appearance. Due to their natural look, composite fillings have now become a more popular option than the traditional amalgam fillings and can last almost as long.

The procedure

Having a filling fitted in is usually an in-office procedure and the entire procedure can be completed in one sitting even for multiple teeth. The process usually begins with your dentist in Cheam applying a local anaesthetic to the gum and then injecting it to numb it further. Using a drill, the dentist then proceeds to remove the decayed portion of the tooth either by shaving the surface of the tooth or drilling deep into the centre. The hole in your tooth is then filled with either amalgam or composite filling and the tooth is finally polished and adjusted so that it feels normal when you bite into food. In the case of composite fillings, the dentist must wait until the filling hardens and they do this using a special light.

It is best to avoid eating or drinking for a couple of hours after the procedure is complete to prevent you biting your tongue or cheek. You may experience some pain or discomfort after the anaesthetic wears off however this can be treated by over the counter painkillers.

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