Sutton Dental Centre and Medical Aesthetics
38 Throwley Way
So your dentist says that you need to have a filling in a tooth – what does it mean???
In this page I want to explain what a filling is and how it is done and why it should be completely PAIN FREE!
A lot of patients put off having dental procedures done as they are scared of the unknown. Hopefully this page will help alleviate some of these fears.
Sutton Dental Centre and Medical Aesthetics we are well known for carrying out Patient Friendly Fillings J
Most of mine patients say to me at the end of the appointment – “IS THAT IT! I HAVE BEEN SO WORRIED AND I DIDN'T FEEL A THING!”
I like to explain to all my patients exactly what I am doing so that they are completely aware of what is happening and there is no fear of the unknown. So I will sit down with them at the examination appointment stage, and go through exactly what the problem is usually with the aid of x-rays and diagrams.
Filling usually means “Tooth Decay”– please refer to my blog page “Asim’s Top Tips to Avoid Tooth Decay” In this blog and future blogs I will explain in great detail what Tooth Decay is and why it causes people Tooth Pain!
Essentially Tooth Decay eats up and destroys your tooth and leads to a Cavity. This cavity can lead to Tooth Pain, depending on how deep the cavity is. The deeper the cavity, the higher the chance that people will get pain.
If a cavity is formed then the tooth needs to be filled. The Tooth Filling is dental restorative material which is used to fill in the cavity inside the tooth and at the same time it restores the function, shape and appearance of the tooth.
The first step is having a Local Anaesthetic. We use this as it will temporarily interrupt communication between the tooth and the brain. We like to call it “sleepy juice” when dealing with kids, as we describe the sensation as putting the nerve of the tooth to “sleep”. This means that any pan signal from your tooth will be stopped and hence you will feel no pain.
At Sutton Dental Centre and Medical Aesthetics we like to try and give Pain Free Injections. We can achieve this by applying numbing gel (topical anaesthetic) over the area for a few minutes.
Once the tooth is completely numb, the dentist will remove all the Tooth Decay from inside the tooth. This will leave a clean hole in the tooth which then will be filled in with 2 types of materials:
Amalgams – also known as silver or mercury fillings. They are made up of silver, tin, copper, zinc and mercury alloy. They material is mixed together to form a soft alloy which will harden in a few minutes, and in that time the dentist will fill the hole with the filling. Amalgam fillings are very strong but have the disadvantages of having to remove more tooth structure to make them retentive and contain mercury.
Composites – also known as white fillings. They are a newer type of filling material. They are made from resin and filler particles which form a soft mix. This mix is used to fill the hole in the tooth and is set up a special blue light. Once set the filling is very strong and looks like a natural tooth. Composites are aesthetically far superior to amalgams and is the most common fillings carried out at Sutton Dental Centre and Medical Aesthetics.
Example of an old amalgam filling which needs to be replaced:
Compared to how the filling looks with the white composite filling: