Tooth filling - fundamental dentistry

Tuesday, 27th April, 2021

The humble tooth filling may be easily overlooked but, like all areas of dentistry, it is important for maintaining good oral health and ensuring that teeth are restored. Fillings are the oldest known dental procedure, a 6000-year-old skull was found with a bitumen filling! In terms of the hours of discomfort, teeth that have been saved and yes even lives that they have saved, the filling has always punched well above its weight.

The ingredients used in fillings has certainly not stayed the same; the bitumen was replaced with gold, then metal amalgam and now liquid porcelains and UV light-cured resins are taking centre stage at our dentist Meath.

White fillings

The term white filling is a bit misleading as they are always off white in order to match the surrounding enamel. We prefer to administer white fillings when possible at our dentist Meath, but they do have an additional cost and are considered cosmetic. Therefore they are not covered under the HSE medical card system.

There have been some rumours involving the suitability of metal amalgam in dentistry, but there is no evidence of toxicity, however there are issues with thermal expansion, putting stress on the tooth and ultimately cracking the tooth from the inside. We are happy to remove and refill old amalgam fillings if you wish. Amalgam fillings have also been known to stain the surrounding enamel; this can not always be addressed with tooth bleaching or abrasion so the best option is to avoid amalgam fillings if at all possible.

Life-span of a filling

Fillings are not forever and checking the condition of fillings so they can be preemptively replaced without a dental emergency is one of the main goals of a dental check-up with your dentist Meath!

Gold fillings tend to last the longest up to 30 years, with amalgam and composite fillings their life is 5 to 15 years.

The range is quite wide but oral hygiene, diet and lifestyle choices all affect the life span of your filling. The size and location of the filling also make an impact too, so a relatively small filling in the side of a tooth will last much longer than a large filling on the meshing surface and the top of a molar which is being actively abraded as you eat.

The formation of a cavity around a filling widening the hole which was made to fit the filling is the most common non-trauma reason for losing a filling, and with care, regular brushing and flossing, it is totally avoidable.

Tooth grinding increases the stress on all your teeth and will result in the loss of fillings. There are some foods that are best avoided too, like hard toffee and some hard sweets. If you suddenly get dental sensitivity to hot or cold stimuli, with the discomfort localised to where you know you have a filling, that's a sign you have either lost the filling or it's loose and you should make an emergency appointment. We always have emergency spaces reserved in our clinic and we will try to see you the same day that you contact us. And please note that we accept medical card patients too.

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