In a healthy mouth, bacteria are present in small numbers and usually do no harm as long as the balance is kept in check. With the use modern oral hygiene regimes, such as tooth brushing and flossing, the amount of bacteria in the mouth can be controlled and the mouth is kept in a healthy state.
However, if bacteria are allowed to sit on the tooth surface for long periods of time, the acid produced will gradually create a small hole in the tooth. This is known as tooth decay.
Given enough time, the decay may eventually spread, causing a toothache and in the worse case scenario, the tooth may require root canal treatment or be removed. The good news is that if the cavity is detected early, the tooth can be filled – a timely and effective procedure which avoids the need for dental extraction.
A tooth or dental filling is a procedure in which a patient’s tooth is treated by removing the area of decay and filling the cavity with a material to replace tooth structure. This allows the tooth to be able to function normally again.
It should be noted that decay is not the only reason for a dental filling. Teeth which have been chipped or worn can also be filled to restore their original shape and form.
Patients are given two options with regards to their filling material. Firstly, amalgam fillings, which are identified by their silver metallic colour, have been used in dentistry for a very long time due to their great strength and durability.
Most amalgam fillings can last from 10 to 15 years while at the same time being able to withstand chewing forces.
On the other hand, composite fillings are the ideal choice for those who want a more natural appearance. Also known as white fillings, this type of filling has the advantage being less noticeable and more aesthetic due to the white colour.
While they are slightly more expensive, white fillings are much more commonly placed, especially with the ongoing advancement in the material’s strength and properties.
Ultimately, it is the patient’s choice to decide which filling material they would prefer.
It is always best to find a trusted and reliable dental clinic, where you can have a discussion with your dentist to find the procedure that best suits your preference and needs. Schedule an appointment and have your teeth checked today!