Fillings and Chipped Teeth
Patients are often embarrassed about the condition of their teeth when they come in for checkups – in all honesty, we’ve seen some extreme cases at Clear Choice Dental so you are in safe hands.
Fractures, chipping and decay – all are caused by a variety of reasons like trauma, bruxism (unconscious teeth grinding), old fillings, acid reflux, genetics and poor oral hygiene. Diagnosis and preventative advice both remain the two most important steps in planning your treatment, as we can assess the long-term health of your teeth and spot any problems that need addressing before they get serious.
If the tooth is simply chipped, it can be repaired easily without the use of a local anaesthetic. However, if the problem is widespread, reconstructive treatments will be more thorough.
Cavities (also known as dental caries or tooth decay) are a common problem that affects everyone. The condition is caused by bacteria and many other by-products of acids, and they infect and decalcify the tooth structure if not cleaned properly. The moment cavitation starts, it penetrates deeper into the structure of the tooth. If it is not treated in time, it may cause pain, infection can spread and an abscess may form. This may result in permanent damage of the tooth nerve.
Depending on the severity of the decay, the dentist will recommend different treatments. For minor cavitation, fillings are used. For larger cavities, the dentist may use an inlay or onlay. For more serious cavitation, a root canal treatment or complete replacement of the tooth with a dental implant may be recommended.
A filling is a method of restoring a tooth damaged by decay back to its healthy form and function. The decay is first removed from the tooth, treated with a bonding agent, and then filled with resin.
Clear Choice Dental uses tooth-coloured composite resin fillings in frontal and posterior teeth. Composite resin has better aesthetic and functional advantages over traditional amalgam fillings as they bond to the teeth for a better seal and are less likely to fracture than metal fillings. The general lifespan of a composite filling is about 5 years, depending on your personal dental hygiene. Tooth-coloured fillings are not only limited to new dental repairs; older restorations can also be replaced for a more natural look.
Inlays and onlays are a long-term restoration solution used to repair posterior teeth that have a mild to moderate amount of decay. They can also be used to restore teeth that are cracked or fractured if the damage is not severe enough to require a dental crown. Inlays and onlays are usually made from porcelain and are often used to replace metal fillings for patients who desire a more natural looking smile.
Patients often ask what the difference between fillings and inlays/onlays are. The difference is in the time they last and the materials needed. Tooth-coloured fillings generally last up to 5 years, whereas porcelain inlays/onlays can last up to 20 years. Inlays/onlays (and crowns) last longer because, unlike fillings, they don’t shrink in place and therefore offer a more permanent solution. We use resin fillings to spot-treat minor cavities in the dentist’s chair, whereas inlays/onlays are custom-made at a dental laboratory.