Nobody looks forward to getting a filling, but with over 80% of the UK population having at least one, for most of us it’s inevitable.
But whether you’ve had fillings before or you’re one of the lucky few who haven’t – there’s no denying that dental fillings are a critical part of general dentistry that we can do without.
Why we hear you ask? Read on to find out why dental fillings are so important, so you understand the need to see an emergency dentist if you need one.
What are dental fillings?
Fillings can be made from a range of different materials, including dental amalgam (silver-colored) and composite (tooth-colored), and they’re used to fill holes, otherwise known as cavities, that form in the tooth.
They are designed to be hard-wearing and discreet, and crucially, they prevent the spread of infection – but more on that later! You need to understand why they are necessary if you have a dental emergency.
Typically, your dentist will examine your cavity, and depending on its severity and where it is in your mouth, will then advise which type of filling would be most suitable. More often than not, amalgam fillings are used in back teeth as they are more durable than composite fillings.
How do dental fillings work?
There are many benefits to having a filling, as cavities can not only cause severe pain if left untreated, but they can also lead to the spread of infection to other healthy teeth. Caivities can be a result of various factors, from having bacteria in your mouth to frequent smoking or too much sugar, but once a cavity forms, it’s irreversible.
A dentist will need to remove the areas of decay, and then this area will be filled with a dental filling in order to stop any infection from forming or spreading. The filling will also prevent any further pain or discomfort from occurring.
Why might you need a dental filling?
As we’ve said, dental fillings offer a wealth of benefits, and can be used to help in a range of different circumstances. In many cases, patients could benefit from a dental filling without even knowing it!
More often than not, you will recognise some of the symptoms associated with a cavity or damaged tooth which prompts a visit to the dentist in the first place. These could include:
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- A change in tooth sensation
- A trauma which has led to a chipped or broken tooth
- An infected tooth
But if you’re unsure whether a dental filling could be right for you, here are some of the most common issues that lead to a filling being necessary:
Damaged or chipped teeth
It’s easier than you might think to damage or chip a tooth, but sometimes these types of incidents can leave behind holes in the tooth that over time can collect bacteria. In some cases, even the strictest oral health routine can’t prevent bacteria from building in a damaged tooth, and that’s why it’s always advised to get a dentists opinion as soon as the incident occurs.
This is by far the most common cause of cavities that require fillings. This is more often related to poor oral health, where a lack of brushing and flossing has led to a build-up of bacteria which has gone on to form plaque. If left untreated, plaque can wear down the enamel of the tooth causing holes that will grow bigger over time.
Bruxism or tooth grinding impacts over 10 million people in the UK and can lead to cavities over time as a result of the excessive wear and tear and pressure. There are a range of things that can be done to treat Bruxism, but if you have already got a cavity as a result of grinding, that’s where a filling may be required.
What can happen if you don’t get a filling?
We understand that for many patients, a trip to the dentist is the very last thing on their to-do list, and with so many patients feeling anxious or nervous about dental work – it’s no surprise. However, if you suspect that a cavity has formed in your tooth, it’s important that you get it seen to as soon as you can.
If left untreated, for whatever reason, a cavity can quickly cause further and more serious damage to the rest of your mouth, and your damaged tooth will continue to decay. In the end, a dental filling is a much quicker, less invasive procedure compared to the treatments that may be needed to fix a more severe issue – so it’s always worth getting checked out.
Find a dentist you can trust
If you’ve been putting off seeing a dentist about your concerns, then there’s no time like the present to take the first steps to a healthier smile. Finding the right dentist in London who you can trust is a great place to start, and the team at Finsbury Dental have over 20 years’ experience in preventative treatment.
Tagline: Dental fillings are very important if you are dealing with an abscess or cavity.