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 DENTAL & TOOTH FILLING: TYPES, COST AND TREATMENTS

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Our smiles are an integral part of who we are. However, common dental issues like cavities and tooth decay can threaten that smile if left untreated. Dental filling, a restorative dental treatment, can be used to repair cracked/damaged or decayed teeth.

What is a Dental Filling?

A dental filling is a restorative treatment for teeth damaged by decay. The procedure involves the removal of decayed tooth tissue and the filling of the space with a suitable material. Dental filling materials include amalgam, composite resins, and porcelain or ceramic fillings.

Dental fillings fill in the holes or gaps in the enamel of decayed, broken, or damaged teeth. They restore the normal function and shape of the tooth, prevent further decay, and preserve the natural tooth structure.

When should I get a tooth filling?

There are various conditions that may necessitate the need for a dental filling.
  1. Tooth Decay: This is the most common reason for getting a dental filling. Tooth decay occurs when the plaque bacteria erodes the tooth enamel, leading to cavities.
  2. Worn Teeth: Teeth often wear down due to bruxism (teeth grinding), poor diet, or age. Dental fillings can help restore these teeth to their normal function and shape.
  3. Broken or Chipped Teeth: Accidents and injuries can lead to chipped or broken teeth. A dental filling can help repair these teeth.
  4. Teeth with Old, Worn-out Fillings: Over time, old fillings can become loose or damaged and may need replacement.
When considering tooth fillings, there are some factors that you should consider:
  1. Location of Filling: The position of the tooth in need of a filling impacts the choice of material. Back teeth, which undertake the brunt of chewing, often require a more durable filling such as dental amalgam or gold fillings.
  2. Visibility Preference: If the filling is in a location that's readily visible when you smile or talk, a more aesthetic option, such as composite fillings, might be preferable due to their tooth-like appearance.
  3. Allergies: Some people may be allergic to certain filling materials. It is crucial to discuss any known allergies with your dentist before the procedure.
  4. Budget: The cost varies significantly depending on the type of filling material. Understanding your budget will allow you and your dentist to make an informed decision that balances cost with functionality and aesthetics.

Benefits of Dental Filling

Improved Tooth Colour

Dental fillings enhance the appearance of discoloured or stained teeth. They come in a variety of shades to match the natural colour of your teeth, resulting in a uniform and aesthetically pleasing smile.

Prevention of Cavities and Tooth Decay

Dental fillings stop the progression of cavities and tooth decay. By filling the cavities, dentists can prevent further damage and help maintain good oral health.

Preservation of Teeth Structure

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Dental fillings preserve the natural structure of teeth. When a tooth is damaged due to decay, fillings restore the tooth's shape and function, preventing the need for more invasive treatments.

Prevents Further Damage

Once a cavity has formed, it can progressively get worse if left untreated. Dental fillings seal up the space, preventing bacteria and food particles from entering and causing further damage.

Restores Tooth Function

A tooth with a cavity or damage can be painful and sensitive, making it difficult to chew or bite. Dental fillings restore the tooth's normal function, alleviating pain and discomfort.

Restores Tooth Function

Dental fillings can either be direct or indirect.

Direct Dental Fillings

A direct dental filling is placed into a prepared cavity in a single visit. It is a conservative and least invasive method to repair a tooth. Three types of dental filling materials are commonly used for direct fillings: composite resin, glass ionomer, and silver amalgam fillings.

Direct Dental Fillings

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Amalgam fillings, or silver or metal fillings, consist of a combination of silver, mercury, zinc, and copper. They are known for their durability and affordability.

Amalgam fillings can last for over a decade with proper care and are capable of filling fairly large cavities within the teeth. Due to their strength, they are often used for back teeth. The lower cost of amalgam fillings makes them a budget-friendly option for many patients.

Pros

  • Very durable and can last about ten to twelve years before requiring replacement.
  • They are more affordable compared to other filling options, making them an ideal choice for patients on a budget.
  • Due to their strength, they can fill large cavities within the teeth.

Cons

  • They can cause teeth discolouration, especially over time, affecting the appearance of the teeth.
  • It contains mercury, which has raised concerns, although modern versions pose minimal exposure risks.
  • They are very noticeable, especially on the back teeth, and can darken the appearance of the entire tooth over time.

Glass Ionomer

Glass ionomer is a dental restorative material made from acrylic and is a component of glass. Glass ionomer fillings have a proven track record and release fluoride, which can help prevent cavities. They are also more moisture tolerant than other materials, making them suitable for certain situations.

However, they are weaker and less wear-resistant than some other filling materials, and they may not last as long. Glass ionomer is often used for non-load-bearing areas, as a base or cement for other fillings, and in pediatric dentistry due to its easy application and fluoride-releasing properties.

Pros

  • It closely matches the colour of the teeth.
  • Often, no preparation is needed before fitting.
  • Releases fluoride over time, strengthening the tooth and maintaining good dental health.
  • Good biocompatibility.

Cons

  • Lower durability compared to other filling materials, prone to quick wear and tear.
  • Some types cannot be finished and polished at the same visit.
  • Vulnerable to acid erosion.
  • Lower tensile strength and wear resistance compared to composites.

Composite Resin Fillings

Glass ionomer is a dental restorative material made from acrylic and is a component of glass. Glass ionomer fillings have a proven track record and release fluoride, which can help prevent cavities. They are also more moisture tolerant than other materials, making them suitable for certain situations.

However, they are weaker and less wear-resistant than some other filling materials, and they may not last as long. Glass ionomer is often used for non-load-bearing areas, as a base or cement for other fillings, and in pediatric dentistry due to its easy application and fluoride-releasing properties.

Pros

  • It closely matches the colour of the teeth.
  • Often, no preparation is needed before fitting.
  • Releases fluoride over time, strengthening the tooth and maintaining good dental health.
  • Good biocompatibility.

Cons

  • Lower durability compared to other filling materials, prone to quick wear and tear.
  • Some types cannot be finished and polished at the same visit.
  • Vulnerable to acid erosion.
  • Lower tensile strength and wear resistance compared to composites.

Dental Porcelain (Indirect Fillings)

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Dental porcelain is a material used in dental restorations to provide an aesthetic component. It is commonly used in crowns, inlays and onlays and is known for its ability to resemble natural tooth materials. 

Porcelain is a composite material consisting of a silica-based glassy matrix embedded with various crystalline phases, primarily silica and silicates, and sometimes other minerals. Indirect fillings have low wear and high chemical resistance to oral environments.

There are two main types of dental porcelain:

  1. Inlays: These are used to fill cavities or gaps in teeth, providing a strong and natural-looking restoration. They are made to resemble the natural tooth material and can withstand biting and chewing forces.
  2. Onlays: Also known as dental veneers, these are custom-made, tooth-coloured shells designed to cover the entire visible surface of a tooth. They are used to improve the appearance of misshapen or discoloured teeth and can protect the tooth from further damage.

Dental porcelain is considered durable, but it has some limitations. It is brittle and prone to chipping or cracking, especially when subjected to tensile loading, such as biting or chewing. However, it is still a popular choice for dental restorations due to its aesthetic benefits and resistance to oral environments.

Some advantages of Dental Porcelain include:

  • Aesthetics: Dental porcelain is well-regarded for its aesthetic appeal. It mimics the appearance of natural tooth material, blending seamlessly with the rest of the teeth.
  • Stain Resistance: Unlike natural teeth, dental porcelain is resistant to staining. This attribute makes it an ideal choice for individuals who consume beverages like coffee or wine that tend to discolour teeth.
  • Strength and Durability: Despite its brittleness, dental porcelain is remarkably strong and durable. It can endure the forces of biting and chewing over a long period of time, thereby maintaining the structural integrity of the tooth.
  • Tooth Reinforcement: When dental porcelain is bonded to a tooth, it not only restores the tooth's appearance but also enhances its strength. It helps prevent further tooth damage.
  • Simple Dental Care: Dental porcelain requires no special care. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups are sufficient to maintain it, making it a convenient option for many patients.

Dental Fillings Procedure

Initial Consultation

The first step in a dental filling procedure is a consultation, where the dentist will conduct a thorough examination of the patient's dental health to confirm the need for a filling. It may involve an oral examination and X-rays.

Anesthesia Administration

To ensure the procedure is pain-free, the dentist will administer a local anaesthetic to numb the area around the tooth that needs the filling.

Tooth Preparation

The dentist will remove any decay or tooth damage using a drill or laser. The area is cleaned to ensure no decay is left behind.

Filling Placement

The dentist will apply the filling material (composite resin, amalgam, gold or porcelain) to the tooth. The filling material is shaped to match the tooth's structure and then hardened using a special light.

Polishing

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After the filling has been set completely, the dentist will polish the tooth. Polishing smooths out the filling and makes it feel more like the original tooth.

Follow-Up

Patients may be asked to return for a follow-up appointment to ensure the filling is not causing any discomfort and that the tooth is healing properly.

Tooth Filling Cost Singapore

The cost of dental filling in Singapore ranges from $80 onwards, depending on tooth complexity. The cost depends on the type of filling, the number of surfaces to be filled, the size of the cavity, and various other factors.

Why Choose Casa Dental for Dental Filling?

Casa Dental has been an Invisalign Diamond Provider since 2017. It is the highest level of certification any Invisalign provider can achieve. Furthermore, our Invisalign dentists are well-trained in treating all types of dental crowding problems - from simple to complex cases.

Choosing Casa Dental for your dental filling needs is a decision that guarantees top-quality service and excellent dental health. Not only does our expertise extend to Invisalign solutions, but we also excel in general dentistry, including dental fillings.

Our team of professional dentists utilises the latest techniques and materials, ensuring your fillings are durable, comfortable, and seamlessly blended with your natural teeth. We are committed to providing gentle care, focusing on preventive measures and maintaining your overall oral health. Trust Casa Dental to provide you with the highest standard of dental care.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tell if a direct or indirect filling is needed?

It's often difficult for an individual to determine whether a direct or indirect dental filling is more suitable. Each type of filling has its own applications and benefits. For instance, direct fillings are commonly used for minor to moderate cavities, while indirect fillings are typically chosen for larger or more complex restorations.

It's always wise to consult with your dentist to assess the condition of your teeth and make a professional recommendation.

How long do the dental fillings last?

The lifespan of dental fillings can vary significantly depending on the type of filling and individual circumstances.
Gold fillings and porcelain fillings can last upwards of 15 years, while composite fillings last approximately 5 to 7 years.

Remember that a filling's lifespan greatly depends on your oral hygiene practices and dietary habits.

Do dental fillings replaceable?

Dental fillings can be replaced if necessary. Factors like wear and tear, damage, or further decay can necessitate the replacement of a dental filling. Common signs that a dental filling may need to be replaced include:

- pain or tooth sensitivity
- visible wear or damage to the filling
- recurrent decay around the filling

How long does a dental filling take to heal?

While the process of getting a dental filling is typically completed in one appointment, the healing or adjustment period can vary. Generally, any residual soreness or tooth sensitivity should subside within two to four weeks. However, if discomfort persists beyond this period, it may indicate an issue with the filling, and a visit to the dentist might be necessary.

Let Us Help You in Taking Care of Your Dental Health

Casa Dental ensures to provide the first-class service to a wide range of clientele including local and expatriate patients from young to old.
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