We all dread the idea of getting a filling. But leaving a toothache untreated is far worse and in all honesty, the most fearful thing about a filling is not knowing what you’re getting yourself into. Switch Dental are all about openness and full disclosure of every procedure.
Knowing a bit about the procedure makes the whole process much less daunting. Fillings are a method used by your dentist to restore a tooth damaged by decay. Decay occurs when plaque builds up on your teeth and gums – usually as a result of the food you’ve been eating. The bacteria in plaque feed on sugars contained in foods you eat, which creates a particular kind of acid that wears away the tooth. To fix the tooth we remove the decay and replace the hole in the tooth with a filling to keep the tooth healthy. The sooner we pick up the tooth decay, the smaller the filling will need to be.
The dentists at Switch Dental in Lower Hutt assess the affected tooth and use a composite resin filling (white filling). Fillings are a quick process and one or two can usually be completed in a single sitting. Your dentist will carefully give a local anaesthetic to numb the mouth, gums and nerves around the affected area.
Once fully numbed, the bacteria and decay will be removed from your tooth with a variety of different tools. Normally manual tools are used to touch up those little bits that lasers, drills or air abrasion technology can’t quite reach. Although it feels a bit odd having bits of metal going here and there, it’s just your dentist thoroughly getting rid of all bacteria and build up in the affected tooth.
Once all the decay has been removed, your dentist will clean the area and get ready to apply a composite resin, or white filling. At Switch Dental, we colour match the resin to your tooth. No one will ever know there’s a filling there afterwards; it’ll be our little secret!
After the cavity is removed and all signs of decay are gone, the dentist will fill the hole with the composite resin. The colour-matched resin is placed in the hole and shaped to the tooth’s contours. The resin is cured to harden with a few seconds from a laser. The cured resin is smoothed to match the rest of your tooth. Since curing time is so brief, your composite filling is all set and ready by the end of the session.
Composite resin fillings last between five and eight years, sometimes longer if you take good care of your teeth and floss regularly. The dentists at Switch Dental are more than willing to help give tips on looking after your new, completely invisible filling to ensure that you’ve got a smile that makes the most of your teeth.
Amalgam (silver fillings) are also available on request. An amalgam filling is a mix of mercury and metal alloys. Amalgams last longer than composite resin, but don’t require curing or colour matching. These fillings also take a bit longer to set. Your dentist at Switch Dental will be able to advise which type of filling is best for you. All in all, our priority is your health, comfort and satisfaction with the results.