When A Dentist Needs To Do A Filling, This Is What They Do.Posted by : Vilas Menon | No Comments
When a tooth has dental decay (“a cavity”), it is not always obvious just by looking at it with your eyes. This is because decay (literally) hollows out a tooth from the inside out. Think of a worm inside an apple and you’ll have a pretty good image of how this works. What this means is – when a dentist needs to repair a tooth with decay in it, he or she needs to first remove enough of the tooth just to get inside of the tooth. Then they need to REMOVE AS MUCH TOOTH AS NEEDED to ensure all the decay has been removed. This can often be half or even more of the tooth structure. This leaves a cavity or hole in the tooth leaving what’s left of the tooth significantly weaker than it was originally and definitely less able to take the work usually needed during biting and chewing.
So we need to put something in to “fill” the hole right?
There are a few ways different dentists do this. Why is there more than one way? Well, it depends on the time, the material, the cost and how progressive (well informed) the dentist and their team is.
One way we “fill” the tooth is using what is essentially a plastic filling – they are a fair option especially when they are small and there is enough tooth to protect the filling. They are also white so they are almost invisible. However, teeth are built strong and when cavities/fillings get bigger, plastic fillings tend to chip, bend, break and distort over a shorter period of time. This can lead to bacteria collecting around the edges and eventually introducing new issues that weren’t there previously. When a dentist does a lot of this type of work, patients can end up feeling like a hamster on a treadmill, putting a lot of effort with their teeth, having a lot of work done but essentially getting no where.
Eventually, once a filling has been done and redone several times, and more and more tooth is damaged through the process, the tooth may end up having pain in which case a root canal treatment may be required or the tooth may need to be removed.
Sometimes this can lead people to conclude that they have “bad teeth” because they don’t realise that the problem is not with their teeth but rather with the work that has been done.
If the tooth “survives” the process, then usually there’s not a lot of tooth left and a dentist may tell you that you need a crown (or “cap”). These can usually cost an additional $1500 or more. Crowns do tend to work well because they can add strength back to you teeth as they cover the whole tooth essentially protecting them. What a dentist sometimes may not tell you however is that in order to have a crown, you may need to remove 60% or more of the original tooth structure.
There is another way though – thanks to technology and the progressive dentists and technicians out there. These days we have solutions called dental ceramics that can give you all the benefits of the crowns without murdering your original tooth! And what’s more, they look coloured (white), very accurately fitting (usually 3D printed) and often cheaper than doing a crown (approximately 2/3rds of the cost). Some dentists (like us) are so confident that this option can save you money, time and last longer, that we will GUARANTEE the result.
Of course nothing lasts forever and even our best ceramics will only last as long as crowns do – generally 10 years plus.
Teeth are obviously built very tough. They are made to last you from around the age of 6 years old until you’re 80. That’s a pretty good warranty if you “maintain” your teeth properly. Way better than anything even Apple or Microsoft is putting out there. While none of our available materials come even close to this lifespan, it is clearly in your best interest to make sure your teeth never get to the stage where they even need a filling.
But if they do, you now know your options and you know what a dentist would do!
If you want to know more about these options, you can also always talk to us and we’ll be happy to talk you through it.Posted on : December 06, 2014