Dental decay is very common affecting 1 in 3 adults (adult dental health survey 2009)
In addition, most tooth decay only will begin to become evident to you when it is deeper into the sensitive part of the tooth which can cause sensitivity and dental pain. As it is somewhat silent, it is crucial to attend every 6 months (at least) for a dental examination with a dentist to assess your teeth for signs of decay before it gets deeper.
Our focus is on prevention to try and avoid the process of decay from occurring wherever possible. Tooth decay occurs through the process of dietary sugar consumption. This sugar is used as a food source by the bacteria which are situated in our mouth. These bacteria produce an acidic waste product which causes tooth decay. It is our goal to coach and best advise you on dietary habits and good oral hygiene to prevent tooth decay from occurring in the first place.
In the event that tooth decay does occur, we also have a way of repairing and restoring the damaged part of the teeth, with tooth fillings.
Tooth fillings come in a variety of materials and aim to restore part of the teeth which has been damaged by decay or wear. Some tooth fillings can be temporary in nature in order for a more permanent one to be made later. Temporary fillings are also useful when mid treatment; for example during a root canal procedure which requires a couple of appointments.
Permanent fillings on the other hand can be placed directly in the dental chair, which is the case most of the time or can be made by the lab. The lab based fillings are called inlays or if they are covering the top surface of the tooth, they are called onlays.
They differ to dental crowns in that they are less damaging to the natural tooth structure and only cover the biting surface of the teeth. They can be made from gold, porcelain or zirconia.
We only use white tooth coloured fillings as the silver amalgam fillings contain mercury, are not as environmentally friendly and are less aesthetically appealing. The tooth coloured filling is a strong resin based material called composite. The use of this material has superseded most other gold and silver fillings as they are easy to mould and place in the dental chair, are very strong and also match the natural tooth colour shade.
Anaesthetic is used to numb the area accordingly to make sure the procedure is as comfortable as possible and that you feel no pain.
The decay or defect in the tooth structure is removed initially and cleaned out. The tooth surface is then prepared with a special gel to ensure the tooth coloured filling material adheres better to the tooth surface.
The tooth filling is then moulded to the correct size and shape. It is then set hard with a special light.
Following final adjustments and polishing, the tooth coloured filling is now ready to function.