The first step in getting a filling is to have the damaged tooth cleaned. Your dentist will use a drill or air abrasion tool to remove any decay and shape the tooth to prepare it for the filling. Once the tooth is clean, the filling material is placed into the prepared space and shaped to fit the tooth. The material is then hardened, usually with a special light.
There are several different types of filling materials available, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The most common types are amalgam (silver) fillings, composite (tooth-colored) fillings, and gold fillings.
Amalgam fillings are made from a mixture of metals and are strong, durable, and long-lasting. They are also relatively inexpensive. However, they are not as cosmetically pleasing as composite or gold fillings, and they may require more of the healthy tooth structure to be removed.
Composite fillings are made from a mixture of plastic and glass, and they are tooth-colored, so they are virtually invisible when in place. They are also relatively easy to apply and can be done in a single visit. However, they are not as durable as amalgam or gold fillings and may need to be replaced more often.
Gold fillings are made from a mixture of gold, copper, and other metals. They are durable and long-lasting, and they can be color-matched to the surrounding teeth. However, they are the most expensive type of filling and require several visits to the dentist to complete.
Overall, dental fillings are a safe and effective way to repair teeth that have been damaged by decay. The type of filling you choose will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Your dentist can help you determine which type of filling is best for you.
It’s important to note that regular checkups and cleanings are the best way to prevent the need for fillings in the first place. Good oral hygiene, like brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day, and avoiding sugary and acidic foods can help to keep your teeth healthy and decay-free.