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Dental cavity solutions
Dental fillings are used to make small repairs to teeth that have been damaged due to tooth decay or fracture. They are normally relatively simple and inexpensive. For this reason very few (if any) people travel abroad for fillings.
However, fillings are often necessary as part of larger work, or the dentist may discover they are necessary and it often make sense to get fillings done at the same time as other work.
What is a Dental Filling or Inlay?
A filling is simply a material that is placed into a cavity in a tooth. The filling helps to protect against further decay and strengthens the tooth.
You might need a filling if:
- There is minor decay or a tooth
- You have a small fracture in a tooth
- If you have a metal/amalgam filling that you want replaced with more natural looking filling
- Composite filling are often used for purely cosmetic purposes in cosmetic bonding
Things to look out for are
- Composite fillings are more expensive that amalgams
- Not all dentists are trained in composite fillings
- Amalgam filling contain mercury which is released to the atmosphere after death (if incinerated)
- There are some, although unproven long term health concerns associated with amalgam fillings
What is the procedure like?
Once the dentist has isolated and anesthetised the damaged area of the tooth, he will remove the decay with a drill or laser and cleanse the area of bacteria. The resulting cavity is roughed so that the resin will bond. It is then filled with an amalgam, composite or porcelain filling. In the case of composite fillings, the resin is applied in layers and hardened with a special light. Once the final layers have been applied the filling will be adjusted and polished.
What different types exist?
Amalgam – These are commonly referred to as metal fillings and can be quite visible. They contain mercury and although there have been ongoing questions about their long term safety there is no proof that they are a health hazard. However, it is becoming common for amalgam fillings to be replaced by composite fillings. Amalgam fillings have a lifespan of roughly 12 years
Composite/PorcelainComposite fillings can be made to match the coloration of your teeth. They are most costly and require specialized equipment and take longer to do. More of the natural tooth can be preserved with composite fillings as the resin can be bonded in thin layers. Note that not all dentists can perform composite fillings. Composite fillings have a lifespan of 5 to 7 years.
Inlays – If a large portion of you tooth is missing but a crown is not required then an inlay might be a good option. An inlay involves a fabricated filling that is inserted between the cusps of a tooth – they can be made of gold, porcelain or resin. Inlays are considerably more expensive than fillings; however they are normally a replacement for a crown rather than a filling.
What affects the price?
- The dentist selected
- The position of the filling
- The number of tooth surfaces the filling has
- The number of fillings required
- The type of fillings and in the case of inlays the material used
Price Comparison (Amalgam)
Price lists should always be viewed with caution as many factors can increase or decrease the resulting price. The follow table gives some indicative costs for fillings across the world. Composite fillings tend to be twice the price of amalgam.
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