In Alberta, dental fillings are a common and essential treatment for restoring teeth affected by decay or damage. This 1200-word article will delve into the types of dental fillings available in Alberta, what patients can expect during the filling process, and factors to consider when choosing the most suitable type of filling.
Dental fillings are a routine procedure in Alberta, used to repair teeth that have been compromised by decay or injury. The primary purpose of a filling is to restore the tooth's integrity, function, and esthetics, thereby maintaining oral health and preventing further decay.
Amalgam Fillings: These are among the oldest and most used types of dental fillings. Amalgam fillings are made from a mixture of metals, including silver, mercury, tin, and copper. They are known for their durability and strength, making them suitable for filling cavities in the back teeth, where chewing forces are greatest. However, their metallic color makes them more noticeable than other types of fillings, and there's been some debate over the safety of mercury used in amalgams.
Composite Fillings: Composite fillings are a popular choice due to their ability to match the color of your natural teeth. They are made of a resin and plastic material that is molded to the shape of the tooth and hardened with a curing light. While not as durable as amalgam fillings, they are preferred for their aesthetic appeal and are typically used on the front teeth or visible parts of the teeth.
Ceramic Fillings: These fillings are made primarily of porcelain and are known for their durability and resistance to staining. Ceramic fillings are more aesthetic than amalgam fillings and are comparable to composite fillings in this regard. However, they can be abrasive to opposing teeth and are typically more costly.
Gold Fillings: Gold fillings are made from a combination of gold, copper, and other metals. They are well-tolerated by the gum tissues and can last a very long time, often more than 20 years. Gold fillings are considered by some to be the most durable type available, but they are also the most expensive and require multiple office visits to place.
Glass Ionomer Fillings: These are made from acrylic and a specific type of glass material. Glass ionomer fillings are less durable than other types, lasting only about five years or so. They are often used for children's teeth or for fillings below the gum line. A unique feature of glass ionomer fillings is that they release fluoride, which can help protect the tooth from further decay.
In Alberta, the process of getting a dental filling typically involves several steps:
Examination: The dentist will first examine the affected tooth and may use X-rays to determine the extent of the decay.
Anesthesia: To ensure comfort, a local anesthetic will be administered to numb the area around the tooth.
Decay Removal: The dentist will remove the decayed tooth material using a drill, air abrasion instrument, or laser.
Filling Application: The chosen filling material is then applied to the cavity. For composite fillings, the material is hardened with a special light.
Finishing Touches: The dentist will finish by polishing and making any necessary adjustments to the filling.
After the filling procedure, patients in Alberta can expect some sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, which should subside. Good oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing and flossing, are essential to maintain the filling and overall oral health.
The choice of filling material in Alberta can depend on several factors, including the location of the filling, the extent of the repair, allergies to certain materials, and budget. Your dentist will provide guidance based on your specific needs and preferences.
Understanding the different types of dental fillings available in Alberta and what to expect during the procedure is crucial for making informed decisions about your oral health. With advancements in dental technology and materials, patients have several options to choose from, each with its advantages. Regular check-ups and open communication with your dentist are key to maintaining the health and longevity of your dental fillings.