Dental Fillings

Dental fillings; are a treatment applied to restore the old natural appearance and healthy structure of teeth damaged due to decay, breakage, or cracking. Before the filling process, the decayed tooth tissue is removed and the affected area is cleaned. The resulting cavity is filled with filling material.

While composite fillings are generally used for anterior teeth, amalgam fillings are preferred if the caries are located in the back.

How Many Types of Dental Fillings?

  1. Porcelain Filling: These are restorations in the natural color of the tooth and are applied to the chewing surfaces of the posterior teeth. It is used on teeth that have damaged more than half of the chewing surface due to fracture or decay. It provides up to 75% durability in teeth compared to the normal filling material. If oral care is done well, its lifespan is between 10-30 years. Porcelain filling is advantageous because it fits perfectly with the natural tooth.
  2. Amalgam Filling: It is a mixture of mercury, copper, zinc and silver. It is used for fillings in posterior teeth. It is resistant to chewing forces. It is more economical compared to its alternatives. However, in order to place this filling, it is necessary to take the healthy parts of the tooth. Moreover, these fillings are not compatible with tooth color. As they wear over time, a color change is observed at the junction of the filling and the tooth.
  3. Kompozit Filling: This type of filling is made of fine glass particles and plastic, and can be applied directly or indirectly. It is particularly common in anterior teeth. These fillings, which integrate with the tooth, give the tooth a solid structure. There is no need to lift the tooth tissue much to set the filling. However, the cost of these fillings is higher.
  4. Gold Fill: These expensive fillings are also very resistant to chewing force. Gold does not rust. If there is both amalgam and gold filling in the patient’s mouth, an electrical current may occur between the saliva and the metals, causing a discomfort called galvanic shock.
  5. Glass Ionomer: Obtained from fluoro aluminosilicate and acrylic components. It is generally preferred for roots and bridges in the anterior teeth, and decay that has descended under the teeth. It can also be used for infrastructure material in other fillings and milk teeth. Sometimes it can be applied without completely cleaning the caries, so it provides comfortable use in children. As they are clamped to the teeth, they prevent leakage and reduce the risk of caries. But the probability of cracking and wear is high.
  6. Glass Carbomers: This filling material has fluorapatite and hydroxyapatite crystals. It does not contain metal. It is used on root surfaces, not too large fillings. It can also be used as a fissure sealant and as a filling in milk teeth.

How Are Dental Fillings Applied?

The process begins with a detailed inspection. By evaluating oral health, infection, etc. X-rays may be requested to see the condition of the teeth clearly. Disorders that may hinder dental filling or negatively affect the healing process should be treated. On the other hand, it should be determined whether the patient is allergic to the components in the filling material to be used.

  • Caries are cleaned before dental filling treatment. That area is sterilised and made ready for filling.
  • Chemical filling material is injected into the area where the filling will be made. The cavities remaining from the caries are filled with a chemical filling material.
  • After the placement process, that area is closed in a way to prevent food residues and similar things from entering it. The gaps are shaved and polished according to the tooth structure.

Considerations After Tooth Filling

  • It is not recommended to eat anything until the effect of the anaesthetic wears off. In fact, there is no problem in terms of filling. However, since the filling will be applied under local anaesthesia, numbness may continue for a while. Therefore, you run the risk of biting your cheek, lip or tongue.
  • Do not bite your lip or tongue to check if the numbness is gone. It is possible to test this by touching it with your finger. The effect of anaesthesia usually disappears within 3 hours in maxillary operations. The numbness in the posterior group teeth in the lower jaw may last for 5-6 hours. This situation varies from patient to patient.
  • If amalgam filling has been applied, food should not be eaten for 2 hours. Because these fillings take 2 hours to be hard enough to eat and 24 hours to reach final hardness
  • Avoid smoking and hookah during the recovery period. Avoid extremely hot or cold foods. Acidic foods such as grapefruit, tangerine and orange; Do not consume acidic drinks such as cola, or soda. While eating, chew with the unfilled side of your mouth.
  • Take care of your regular dental care. In addition to the toothbrush, you can also use an interface brush, mouth shower and dental floss.
  • Do not forget to go for a check-up every 6 months.
  • If you experience teeth grinding/clenching teeth during sleep and similar problems, use a tooth protector at night and act according to your doctor’s recommendations on this subject.
  • Do not do anything with your filled tooth, such as breaking a popcorn or peanut/nutshell, trying to open the bottle cap, etc. It is very inconvenient to do these with natural teeth even. The filling and teeth will inevitably be damaged if you do so.
  • Nail biting habit can shorten the life of the filler. If you have such a habit, you can get expert support to quit.

Dental Filling Side Effects

  • If the filling is very close to the nerves, you may experience cold/hot sensitivity for the first 3 weeks. Normally, this sensitivity gradually decreases and disappears. But if it does not go away, you should consult your doctor.
  • There may be pain after the operation. Your doctor will recommend painkillers for this.
  • The filling may seem unfamiliar to you, it may get stuck in your tongue. This situation is considered normal for the first 2 weeks. If it does not pass, you should consult your doctor. Extra polishing will be done to fix the problem. This is a simple application and does not require anaesthesia.
  • If you feel pain when you close your mouth, do not use that area and inform your dentist. Unnoticed height/excess in the filling can cause such pain.

In conclusion, dental fillings are a common treatment used to restore the appearance and healthy structure of teeth that have been damaged by decay, breakage, or cracking. There are several types of fillings available, including composite, amalgam, porcelain, gold, glass ionomer, and glass carbomers. The type of filling used will depend on the location and severity of the damage. The filling process begins with a detailed inspection and cleaning of the affected area, followed by the injection of the filling material and closure to prevent food residues from entering. It is important to take care of regular dental care and to avoid smoking, hot or cold foods, and acidic drinks during the recovery period. Additionally, it is recommended to go for a check-up every 6 months and to avoid biting or gnawing habits that can shorten the life of the filling.