A tooth with a hole or a decay needs to be filled, the filled material defines the filling. Earlier metal fillings were common, gold, silver and mercury were a few metals used for filling. With the advent of advanced dentistry, materials which are tooth like, biocompatible, inert and with good endurance have taken over or replaced metal fillings.
An ideal filling material needs to have
- Complete Seal
- Good Compressive and tensile strength
- Prevent micro seepage
A dentist always tries to conserve the tooth surface, any unsupported enamel or weakened tooth structure is utilised in the preparation to create locks for holding the filling. As much as the material of filling, the architecture of a tooth preparation can determine the longevity of a filling or tooth restoration. Advancements in filling materials like fluoride releasing G.I.C Cements do offer good compressive strength apart from preventing the filled tooth from further decay. Adjunct filling materials like synthetic dentin or bio-dentine are used in conjunction with filling materials, preventing any tooth sensitivity and offering pulpal protection.
Contrary to the belief that fillings are only meant for teeth with decay, fillings are also used to cover mechanical, abrasive and attrited defects. Certain pink coloured composites are good camouflaging agents to cover root exposures due to receding gums.
Tooth fillings are broadly classified into Permanent and Temporary Restorations. Permanent fillings, as the name suggests are used to fill teeth permanently whereas temporary restorations are used in-between procedures and to temporarily close a cavity. Zinc oxide Eugenol is one temporary filling which initiates secondary or reparative dentin formation hence recommended in deeper cavities.
Dental Infiltrate is an advanced chemically activated compound which can remineralise the defective enamel on chair side. The results offered by infiltrate can be magical which both the dentist and patient can witness.