WHY DO WE NEED FILLINGS?
Teeth are comprised of several layers. Simplified the outer layer is called enamel. This is the hardest layer. Underneath the enamel is a layer called dentine. This is a slightly softer structure which encases the nerves and blood vessels (the life force) in the tooth.
Food and drinks that we consume contain sugars and carbohydrates. When the bacteria in our mouths break these down they produce acids. These acids dissolve the enamel and dentine that your teeth are comprised of and over time a hole or cavity will form in the tooth. This is known as dental caries or tooth decay. In order to repair an affected tooth the decayed structure must be removed and the space filled.
There are various materials used to fill teeth with the most common being composite resin (white fillings). We do not use metal fillings in our practice because repetitive loading causes the tooth to fracture away from the metal fillings.
Composite resin (white fillings)
This plastic resin material has an excellent appearance and is bonded to the remaining tooth structure so unlike metal fillings it does not rely on retention to be held in place. This is important to you because it means we only need to remove the decayed structure (which we do with dental burs but also with an Air Abrasion unit) leaving more natural tooth. A wide range of shades are available so the colour of your teeth can be very closely matched.
Alternative options such as Ceramic and Porcelain materials may be considered if the current tooth structure has been weakened by existing large fillings (more than 50% of the tooth), decay, a heavy bite or for a more natural appearance.
If you would like more information on why we prefer not to use metal fillings click here.
The best way to prevent tooth decay is to remove all bacterial plaque from all the surfaces of all your teeth, twice a day morning and night. From a perfectly clean tooth surface it only takes a few seconds before the first bacteria stick to the tooth surface and begin to grow into a complex bacterial community known as Plaque. It is this film of bacteria we want to remove when we clean our teeth and gums. Regular check ups are important as we can often see something forming and can bring your attention to specific areas of concern. Also, the sooner a repair is made the less it will cost you financially, cosmetically and functionally.