White Fillings | Dentists in Newry Northern Ireland
What is dental decay?
Dental decay, also known as tooth decay or dental caries, is when acids in your mouth dissolve the outer layers of your teeth producing a cavity (a hole).
What causes dental decay?
Your mouth is full of bacteria, which combine with small food particles and saliva to form a sticky film known as plaque that builds in and around your teeth.
When you consume food and drink that is high in carbohydrates (sugary or starchy), the bacteria in plaque turn the carbohydrates into the energy they need, producing acid at the same time.
Over time, the acid in plaque begins to break down the surface of your tooth. Left untreated, the plaque can completely destroy the outside of the tooth, exposing the nerves inside. Once this happens, you will experience toothache and with no treatment the tooth will eventually fall out.
What are the signs of dental decay?
In the early stages of dental decay there are no symptoms, but your dentist may be able to spot an early cavity when they examine or x-ray your teeth. This is why you should visit your dentist regularly, as small cavities are much easier to treat than advanced decay.
What areas of my teeth are more likely to decay?
The biting surfaces of the teeth and the surfaces between the teeth are most likely to decay, as food and plaque can become stuck in these areas.
What treatment will I need?
If the decay is not too serious, we will remove all the decay and restore the tooth with a filling. Sometimes the nerve in the middle of the tooth can be damaged. If so we will need to carry out root canal treatment by removing the nerve and then restoring the tooth with a filling or a crown. If the tooth is so badly decayed that it cannot be restored, the only option may be to extract the tooth.
What can I do to help prevent decay?
The best way to prevent dental decay is by brushing your teeth thoroughly twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, making sure that you brush the inner, outer and biting surfaces of your teeth. Using dental floss, tape or interdental aids also helps remove plaque and food from between your teeth and gumline. These are areas a toothbrush can't reach.
Regular visits to the dentists and the hygienist as recommended can also help to prevent decay. Cut down in the amount of sugary drinks and acidic foods. Chewing sugar free gum after a meal can help your mouth produce more saliva, this helps to neutralise any acids that have been found.
Why have a white filling?Most people have fillings of one sort or another in their mouths. Nowadays fillings are not only functional, but can be natural looking as well. Many people don't want silver fillings that show when they laugh or smile because they are more conscious about the way they look.
Are white fillings better than silver amalgam fillings?
White fillings have always been considered less long lasting than silver amalgam fillings. But there are now new materials available with properties comparable to silver amalgam, and these are proving to be very successful. The life expectancy of a white filling can depend greatly on where it is in your mouth and how heavily your teeth come together when you bite.
Is it worth replacing my amalgam fillings with white ones?
It is usually best to change fillings only when your dentist decides that an old filling needs replacing. If so you can ask to have it replaced in a tooth-coloured material.
Some dentists prefer not to put white fillings in back teeth as they are not always successful. One way around this would be to use crowns or inlays, but this can mean removing more of the tooth and can be more expensive.