What is dental decay?
Dental decay, often referred to as cavities or dental caries, is a gradual and destructive process that occurs in our mouths. Within our oral environment, bacteria thrive, and they particularly relish feasting on the sugars we consume through food and beverages.
As these bacteria feed on sugars, they produce acids as by-products. These acids attack the outer protective layer of our teeth, known as enamel, causing it to slowly dissolve and weaken over time. If not properly managed, this acid attack leads to the formation of small holes or cavities on the surface of the teeth.
One of the challenging aspects of dental decay is that it can silently progress without causing noticeable symptoms in its early stages. Patients may not experience any physical indications, such as visible holes, pain, or sensitivity, until the decay has advanced significantly. The nerve deep inside the tooth remains unaffected until the later stages of decay, making it difficult for patients to detect the problem on their own.
Regular dental check-ups, including comprehensive clinical examinations and dental X-rays, are essential for early detection and intervention. By identifying dental decay at its initial stages, dental professionals can take proactive measures to stop its progression and prevent further damage to the affected teeth.
The primary objective is to preserve as much of the natural tooth structure as possible while effectively addressing decay. This not only helps avoid more complex and extensive treatments but also maintains the integrity and strength of the tooth.
What are fillings and restorations?
Fillings and restorations are dental procedures designed to repair and restore teeth affected by dental decay. When decay occurs, the damaged portion of the tooth must be removed to prevent further deterioration. The filling material is then placed in the prepared space, restoring the tooth’s shape, function, and integrity.
The choice of filling material depends on various factors, including the size and location of the cavity. Inlays are used for smaller cavities within the central part of the tooth, while onlays cover a larger area, including a portion of the tooth’s biting surface.
Fillings serve a crucial purpose by removing bacteria from the affected area and sealing off the cavity, preventing the progression of tooth decay. By restoring the damaged tooth, dentists ensure that it can continue to function effectively and be protected from additional harm.
How are cavities treated?
At Bella Dental Penrith, our approach to cavity treatment revolves around a conservative philosophy. We strive to preserve as much of the natural tooth structure as possible while effectively addressing the decay to ensure the best long-term outcomes.
To achieve this, we utilise advanced materials and state-of-the-art technology to prepare the affected tooth with minimal removal of healthy structure. This conservative approach helps preserve the tooth’s strength and ensures the best possible function and appearance after restoration.
Our dental team places great emphasis on aesthetics, paying meticulous attention to detail to match the colour, texture, and contour of the restoration with the surrounding natural teeth. This attention to aesthetics ensures that the restoration blends seamlessly with the rest of the smile, providing a natural and attractive result.
For patients seeking a more aesthetically pleasing alternative to traditional metallic fillings, we offer tooth-coloured composite fillings. These fillings are made of a durable resin material that closely mimics the natural colour of the teeth. They not only provide excellent durability but also create a seamless appearance that makes them virtually indistinguishable from the surrounding tooth structure.
Additionally, we offer porcelain fillings, also known as inlays and onlays, created using CEREC technology. CEREC technology allows us to fabricate custom-made porcelain restorations in a single visit, eliminating the need for multiple appointments. These high-quality porcelain restorations boast exceptional aesthetics, longevity, and strength, providing patients with a highly satisfactory solution for repairing their teeth.
With our commitment to using the latest techniques and materials, Bella Dental Penrith ensures that cavity treatment is not only effective but also personalised to each patient’s unique needs. Our aim is to deliver long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing restorations that promote oral health and overall well-being. By taking a conservative approach and focusing on patient-centred care, we empower our patients to maintain a healthy and confident smile for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a dental filling?
A dental filling is a restorative dental procedure used to repair teeth affected by dental decay or damage. During the procedure, the dentist removes the decayed or damaged portion of the tooth and fills the space with a specialised material. The filling restores the tooth’s shape, function, and integrity, preventing further decay and preserving the natural tooth structure.
How do I know if I need a filling?
If you experience any of the following signs, you may need a dental filling:
• Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
• Persistent toothache or pain.
• Visible holes or dark spots on the teeth.
• Rough or chipped tooth surfaces.
• Discomfort while biting or chewing.
However, only a comprehensive dental examination, including X-rays, can confirm whether a filling is necessary. Regular dental check-ups are crucial to detecting cavities and dental issues early on.
What types of fillings are available?
There are various types of dental fillings, each with its own unique benefits. The common types of fillings include:
• Amalgam Fillings: Made of a mixture of metals, including silver, mercury, tin, and copper. They are durable and cost-effective but may be less aesthetically pleasing.
• Composite Fillings: Also known as tooth-coloured fillings, they are made of a resin material that closely matches the natural colour of the teeth. Composite fillings are aesthetically pleasing and bond well to the tooth structure.
• Porcelain Fillings (Inlays and Onlays): Custom-made restorations crafted from porcelain material They are highly aesthetic, durable, and stain-resistant, making them a popular choice for visible teeth.
How long do dental fillings last?
The longevity of dental fillings depends on the type of filling used, the size of the cavity, and the patient’s oral hygiene habits. Amalgam fillings can last for many years, often exceeding a decade, while composite fillings have a lifespan of around 5–10 years. Porcelain fillings, made with high-quality materials, can last up to 20 years or more with proper care.
Regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene practises, such as brushing, flossing, and regular professional cleanings, contribute to the longevity of dental fillings.
Are tooth-coloured fillings better than silver fillings?
Both tooth-coloured (composite) and silver (amalgam) fillings have their advantages. Tooth-coloured fillings provide a more natural appearance as they blend seamlessly with the natural colour of the teeth. They also bond to the tooth structure, requiring less removal of healthy tooth material.
On the other hand, silver fillings are known for their durability and longevity. They are less expensive compared to tooth-coloured fillings and are suitable for restoring back teeth where aesthetics may be less critical.
The choice between tooth-coloured and silver fillings depends on individual preferences, the location of the filling, and the dentist’s recommendation based on the patient’s specific needs. Our dental team can discuss the pros and cons of each option and help you make an informed decision based on your unique situation.