Many people who have visited a dentist have heard of, or even used a filling material for their teeth. The material, commonly known as dental cement, is the preferred treatment option for a tooth that develops a cavity or hole.
It is often used to prevent the tooth from further damage.
However, there are still many myths that people have about dental fillings. For instance, many believe the procedure causes a lot of pain. This is not true, especially if the filling is done by a qualified person.
The best time for you to have an affected tooth filled is when the decay is still at the enamel or dentine.
You can establish this through regular dental check-ups. If the filling is not done during this stage, the decay will spread to the pulp and a mere filling will not manage the condition. In this case, you will have to do a root canal procedure.
Type of tooth
Also, the best filling material will depend on the type of tooth to be filled, as the front and back teeth usually require different materials.
The level of decay progression will also be a key consideration on the type filling you will use. Some filling materials are used as a temporary measure, especially if decay has progressed deep into the pulp.
This type of temporary filling material is meant to prepare your pulp for the permanent procedure.
For many years, dentists have been using Silver Amalgam, as a permanent filling material, especially for the back teeth (molars), but this has been phased out in many countries.
This is so because Silver Amalgam was found to have long term side effects to the body as a result of its alloy and mercury composition.
In most clinics here in Uganda, Amalgam is also no longer in use. Instead, ceramic composite and glass ionomer filling materials are being used as an alternative.
If you develop tooth decay, it is always crucial that you discuss the type of filling and material to be used with your dentist. This will prevent your teeth from further decay, and will also keep you smiling every day.
The writer is a dentist