Monday January 13 2014

Dental clinic : When should you consider permanent filling?

Ceramic composite

Ceramic composite 

By Richard Kabanda

Last week, we discussed why some people may experience pain after filling their teeth. Teeth are usually filled because they have developed cavities (holes).
However, there are situations when dentists will fill your teeth even though they do not have cavities. This is common with teeth that are either broken or have developed deep pits and fissures.
The filling can be permanent or temporary, although most people will prefer the permanent one.
Although permanent fillings can last for at least five years, durability may also depend on the type of cement or filling material used, size of the cavity or even the expertise of the dentist.
Here are the different materials that dentists can use to fill teeth.

Ceramic composite
This is currently the most recommended filling material worldwide. It comes in different shades depending on the colour of one’s teeth.
Once it is used, it will look exactly like the natural teeth. So far, it has no known side effects. It requires some technicality and long use or experience by the dentist if it is to stay in one’s tooth over a long period of time.
This type of material also requires sophisticated equipment to fix use it.
Glass ionomer
This is another type of filling material specifically used for permanent filling. It is also made in teeth-like colour, though there are no specific shades made for every individual’s teeth colour. It also requires technical knowledge, exposure and experience by a dentist for it to be fixed effectively.

Silver amalgam
This has been the most widely used permanent filling material around the world. Its composition has alloy and mercury, which ongoing research now shows is actually bad for our dental health.
Many countries in the developed world have stopped using this material for dental filling, although many clinics in Uganda still use it because it is relatively cheap, easy to use and does not require a lot of technical knowledge.

The writer is a dentist