Decay is caused by microscopic germs living on your teeth, when you eat food that is high in sugar these germs consume that food and release acid, which then slowly dissolves your teeth. If this is left to continue for too long it can lead to decay.
Decay is not always visible with the eye, and doesn’t always cause symptoms, it is for that reason regular dental check ups are recommended for prevention.
This decay if left untreated can continue to grow into the nerve, which can then become incredibly painful and may end up with the tooth needing to be taken out. It is for this reason that if your teeth are decayed your dentist will offer you fillings. To restore what tooth is left , and to prevent the decay from spreading further.
A filling involves removing the decay with a drill, and then restoring the area where the decay used to be with a filling material. There are three commonly used types of filling materials that your dentist may offer you.
The composite filling is the most popular white filling. It consists of a resin that starts as soft, but is cured by the dentist under a special curing light which gives it its strength.
The advantages or benefits of a composite filling as opposed to the other filling types are ; it has been proven to be strong and resilient. It does not require a large filling preparation as it can stick to the tooth. It is cosmetically the best filling material.
The disadvantages or risks of a composite include; it is very technique sensitive and appointments tend to take a lot longer than for the other filling types, because the curing light must be shined on it to set it in stages, the tooth must be kept dry for the composite to bond well – if the tooth is not kept dry then it is more likely to fail. You may get some sensitivity after the treatment.
The amalgam filling is a metal filling composed of a silver / mercury mix, that is why often you may hear them called silver fillings.
The advantages or benefits of amalgam are, it is the cheap, it is hard wearing.
The disadvantages or risks of amalgam are, it is silver in colour so cosmetically it is unpleasant, the tooth must be drilled more to be able to get it to hold, as it does not stick to the tooth , and is instead held in place by undercuts (think of a jigsaw puzzle), amalgam contains mercury which by law means it cannot be used in pregnant women or children, many countries in the European union are currently phasing out on its use.
Glass Ionomer Filling:
The glass ionomer filling is a filling that is mostly used in children, and as a provisional filling for heavily decayed teeth , that may later have something more permanent done.
The advantages or benefits of a glass ionomer filling are, it is relatively cheaper than the other white filling materials, it releases fluoride so it actually helps kill germs and strengthen the tooth.
The disadvantages or risks of glass ionomer are, it is significantly weaker than the other filling material types, and although white in colour it is much harder to get a good cosmetic appearance compared to composite.
All fillings pose a risk of soreness and sensitivity after treatment, if this persists as a pain , there is a chance that the filling may have unsettled the nerve. In these situations the tooth may need to be taken out, or a root canal may be necessary.
|Single surface white composite filling||£100|
|Multi surface white composite filling||£150|
|Amalgam Metallic Filling||£80|
|Core build up||£200|