When will I need a crown rather than a filling?

Crown placement helps to strengthen the entire tooth as it covers all the functional surfaces. As a result, any forces exerted on the tooth are distributed evenly throughout the crown. The junction between the crown and the tooth surface is safely hidden at the gum margin where very few forces are being experienced. In comparison, a filling margin which is often on the eating surface of the tooth experiences heavy vertical forces during function which can damage the filling, tooth or both. Your dentist will be able to assess your tooth and determine whether a filling or a crown is best indicated. The more extensive the damage on the tooth, the more likely a crown will be required. Crowns are placed where there has been extensive decay, physical trauma to the tooth, crack lines, fractures or after a root canal has been done.

Can I eat after having a filling done?

Yes. As soon as your dental visit is over, the filling is ready to be used as normal, however care needs to be taken with any remaining numbness. Be careful not to bite your lips or cheeks and always make sure that any food or beverages are not too warm.

Can I whiten my teeth if I have fillings or crowns on my front teeth?

Yes. However the restorations will need to be reviewed after completion of whitening. It is not possible to lighten fillings or crowns with standard dental whitening procedures. Your dentist will be able to advise you on what the likely requirements will be.

Can my tooth decay again after a filling is placed?

Yes. Having a filling placed does not make a tooth immune to decay. The initial decay present would have been removed entirely in order to place a successful filling, however recurrent decay can occur without proper care. The junction between the filling and the tooth is the most vulnerable area and it is essential that you maintain high levels of oral hygiene care around fillings and natural teeth alike.

What type of material is used for dental fillings?

There are several material options available. The most commonly used being composite resin which is a tooth colored restorative material that bonds to the tooth structure by engaging micro-irregularities. Other tooth colored materials include the glass ionomer family. Your dentist will be able to advise you on which material works best for you.

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