Fillings are the restorative dental materials that deal with cavities. Filling cavities with dental material is one of the oldest dental practices in existence. It’s believed that the first filling ever was done with beeswax in the Neolithic period thousands of years ago!
Let’s talk about how much dental fillings have changed since then.
What are fillings for?
Fillings are done to protect a damaged tooth. The inside of a tooth has sensitive nerves, blood vessels, and a soft tissue called dentin that keeps it alive. When a cavity is formed from poor dental hygiene, all of these sensitive tissues are exposed to infection and further damage. The filling procedure helps seal off the tooth so you can enjoy life as normal without sensitive or painful tooth damage.
Dental Filling Material:
The first fillings in the modern age were made with dental amalgam. This substance is a silver and mercury metal composite and the mercury they contained has been shown to slowly leach into the body. Mercury is quite toxic to the human body, so almost all fillings performed now are made with a light-cured resin. This resin is tooth-colored, so you don’t have to worry about any cosmetic changes to your teeth. The new light-cured resin is initially the consistency of a putty, but Dr. Blackhurst will use a special curing light to harden it to the point where it is permanently bonded.
The Filling Process:
First and foremost is patient comfort. Dr. Blackhurst often uses an anesthetic to make sure there is no pain during the procedure. Next you’ll have a bite block placed in your mouth to allow the dentist to easily access the affected tooth. An important part of the process is to remove any existing tooth decay before the filling is placed, so Dr. Blackhurst will take the time to be very thorough in cleaning and preparing the tooth to ensure a perfectly fitting and permanent filling. Finally the filling resin is placed, and cured with the curing light. This part of the process is generally very quick and after a few seconds under the light, the resin will harden and bond to the surrounding tooth to protect it.