When your pediatric dentist tells you that you have a cavity, she often advised you to have a dental filling to protect the tooth from further decay. If left unfilled, a cavity can only worsen and the decay could lead to bone loss. The good news is that tooth-filling procedure is almost painless thanks to advancements in dentistry. Today, there is no reason not to get a filling if your dentist advises it.
Dental Filling vs. Sealant
One of the main differences between a filling and sealant is the longevity. A filling can last for as long as 10 years, whereas dental sealants may only last for a year. In reality, dental sealants don’t actually last that long and may depend on the person’s oral hygiene practices. Sealants are often given to kids to protect their molars from the development of decay.
On the other hand, fillings are given as a treatment measure to eliminate the hole left when the dentist removes existing tooth decay.
What to Expect from a Dental Filling
One of the main things to expect when having your kids a filling is a conversation with the pediatric dentist on the type of material to be used. There are several options of filling material available today and your choice may depend on a mix of factors such as the appearance, the function and the cost.
Some options for dental filling material include:
- Amalgam. This is a silver-colored filling, composed of a mixture of metals such as tin, copper, silver and mercury. They are strong, durable and cheap but a lot of people do not like the appearance of silver.
- Composite. This is a tooth-colored filling made from resin and glass. Composite can match the color of your teeth, however, they’re not as metal and may have to be replaced more often.
- Ceramic. This is often made of porcelain and are popular among those who want to have a natural looking tooth. They can be abrasive when they hit against a natural tooth. Your pediatric dentist has to make sure that your bite is correct to prevent tooth wear.
- Glass ionomers. They are acrylic and glass fillings that bond chemically to dental tissues and slowly release fluoride over time. They are ideal for low stress areas and are often place on the front teeth or on root. They are commonly used in kids as a short-term fix for baby teeth.
After you have your filling, make sure to take good care of it. It is important to practice a regular dental health routine such as brushing the teeth twice daily and daily flossing. Be sure to see your pediatric dentist for regular checkup because you may not notice when the filling begins to wear down. If a dental filling falls out or breaks, immediately see a dentist for repair or replacement.