Fillings are used when a tooth has a cavity caused by decay, or when a tooth is cracked or broken.
What is involved?
Usually, the dentist will administer an anaesthetic injection to numb the area. This is not always necessary if the patient is happy to continue without. The dentist will then drill the tooth to remove all signs of decay. As the drills are water cooled, suction is used to remove as much water as possible. The drill nowadays is very quiet and the process is not at all as daunting as decades ago.
Once drilling is complete and the dentist is happy that no decay remains, the filling will be built up in layers and shaped. After each layer a special light is used to ‘cure’ or harden the tooth.
Finally, the dentist will check the shape and fit of the tooth and make final adjustments to ensure the bite is correct.
Types of fillings
There are a number of different types of fillings, including gold, porcelain and silver amalgam. But the most popular is a tooth-coloured composite resin, which can be matched to the shade of natural teeth and be virtually indistinguishable in the mouth.
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