The primary concern for dentists is improving a patient’s overall oral health through a variety of preventative and restorative procedures, with cosmetics and aesthetics coming in second. Luckily, a variety of modern procedures manage to be preventative, restorative, and cosmetic without detracting from a person’s overall health and wellness. One of the most common procedures today is the insertion of dental fillings, which often leave people with many questions about how they can affect overall oral health and wellness.
Dental fillings are made of amalgam or synthetic material and are inserted into a tooth that has a cavity caused by damage, decay, or periodontal disease. Before a filling can be placed, the tooth needs to be cleaned, and the interior scraped to eliminate all of the damaged material. Once the decayed portion is removed, the dentist will probe the area to make sure nothing was left behind and to test for sensitivity.
Once no more decayed material remains, a dentist then cleans the interior of the tooth to eliminate bacteria and buildup. If decay is near the root, a thin synthetic layer will be applied to protect the tooth’s nerve from damage or potential pain. The resin of the filling is then slowly inserted into the tooth in layers to ensure the material reaches every pocket. It is then hardened and shaped at the top to restore tooth function.
Fillings are an essential restorative procedure to preserve the teeth for as long as possible. One of the main reasons fillings can improve overall oral health is by ensuring a natural tooth remains in the mouth. When someone loses natural teeth to damage or decay, they risk the possibility of the decay from a cavity or disease moving from the tooth down the root and into the gums and jaw. Once there, it can weaken the teeth and gums, causing infections and future tooth loss.
Without a filling, it is also likely to lose the natural tooth and potentially need a root canal to clear out all of the decayed matter. Before the tooth is removed, patients often suffer severe pain and distress that causes a loss of appetite, trouble eating and speaking, and the potential to develop periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection caused by the plaque that builds up on the surface of the teeth after eating. It is more commonly known as gum disease. What happens is the body responds to the bacterial infection by producing substances that cause gum irritation, inflammation, and swelling. This leads to sore, bleeding gums – the staple of gingivitis. It can eventually lead to weakened, receding gums and the loosening of teeth, which results in natural tooth loss.
Another major issue is the buildup of plaque. Typically, when an individual requires a dental filling, it is because they have not properly brushed and cared for their teeth. This results in the buildup of plaque, the sticky destructive substance that sits on the teeth. Dentists can remove it during cleaning and the filling process. However, if it is not taken care of, it builds up and crowds out the gums while also causing the teeth to decay.
The simplest way to inspect your teeth is to visit a professional dentist, who will perform a visual exam before going in with special instruments. One of them is a small, metal pick. Dentists use the pick and tap the tops of the teeth. If the pick sticks or hits something soft, this a sign that the tooth is decaying and will need to be scraped and filled before the issue spreads to the rest of the mouth.
You can also tell yourself if you need a filling, as the most common symptom is pain caused by having an exposed nerve and blood vessels from the interior of the tooth. A quick visual exam should reveal any pockets or problems.
Fillings are an essential step in maintaining overall oral health, and the only way to receive one is to see a professional like the dentists at Dental Now 14.