Today, we will discuss the all-important issue of dental fillings. The reasons may be different but nobody loves visiting the dentist. We will answer important questions such as what are tooth fillings, why someone may need it, what are the options available to those who need it, who should get it and who shouldn’t.
1 in 3 adults suffer from dental problems. That’s one-third of the population!
Of course, this is due to many factors such as bad hygiene, unhealthy foods and drinks, genetics, etc. Regardless, the thought of going to the dentists scares the best of us. If you are not scared by the thought of the pain, then you will be by the thought of the dental costs involved.
It is common that you or someone in your family will be suffering from some stage of cavities in their mouth. Hopefully, you are not at a stage that you need a serious treatment such as tooth filling.
Let’s get started with this complete guide covering the ins and outs of tooth fillings.
Table of Contents
- The Biggest Threat in Our Mouths!
- What is a Tooth Filling?
- Who is the Ideal Candidate for a Tooth Filling?
- How to Guide: About Homemade Temporary Tooth Filling
- Making a Temporary Tooth Filling
- Different Types of Dental Fillings
- Who Should Avoid Getting Tooth Fillings?
- What Are the Alternatives for Tooth Filling?
The Biggest Threat in Our Mouths!
Before we find out about tooth fillings, let’s quickly refresh our memory about one of the most notorious villains in our mouth – cavities!
Cavities is the most common form of tooth decay. Because we consume lots of different types of foods, drinks, snacks, etc. pieces of things we ate get stuck in between our teeth. Without proper dental hygiene such as brushing, flossing and rinsing, they stay there. Bacteria in our mouth digest these food particles and create plaque. As a result, we get dental cavities & gum disease.
Cavities are not due to just sweets and chocolates, and they affect everyone not just kids. As we get older, our teeth and gums get weaker and our more likely to plaque. Excessive plaque, decays the teeth and forms cavities in them. This causes the severe pain that we all know too well.
Tooth filling can help to soothe pain causes by cavities and prevent further damage.
What is a Tooth Filling?
Tooth filling, also known as cavity filling, is a dental procedure to restore the damage caused to teeth because of it decaying. Tooth fillings repair some of the damage and prevent teeth from further decaying, among other damages. Cavity filling is not uncommon and those with dental care access, most certainly had it done. This is because data suggests that 91% of US adults have cavities and most received dental fillings as treatment.
Simply said, the treatment involves removing decayed parts and filling it with artificial materials to prevent pain and further damage. The dentist drills out decay from the affected tooth and cleans it. Then, a hole is drilled even in the tooth and filled with alternative material. After this is done, the tooth will be able to work normally.
If cavity is not treated, then the decay will completely get rid of the tooth, and cause intense pain. This may lead to an abscess, requiring major dental treatment like tooth extraction or root canal.
Dental filling is not something to be happy about, but to save your tooth for as long as possible, it is a safe, secure and proven treatment. The decay is stopped from reaching the root of your tooth to relieve pain and save your tooth.
Who is the Ideal Candidate for a Tooth Filling?
Only a medical professional such as a dentist will be able identify whether your need a tooth filling or not. You must always go for a dental checkup at least once a year if not once every 6 months. The checkup includes looking at the condition of each tooth to make sure nothing unusual is happening.
If your dentist doubts something, then an X-ray will clarify the exact condition. If your tooth is decaying, then your dentist will suggest cavity filling to save your tooth. It is also possible for dentists to recommend dental filling for other reasons such as minor breaks or cracks in your tooth from minor wear-and-tear, grinding or other injures.
The perfect candidate for tooth filling is one with tooth showing signs of decay. But for those with more than mild to moderate tooth decay will need root canal treatment.
How to Guide: About Homemade Temporary Tooth Filling
First of all, there is not a single safe alternative to visiting a dentist for dental problems!
Unfortunately, no matter how good a dental hygiene routine you may have, our teeth are not indestructible. So, sooner or later we will encounter a condition needing treatment ranging from a chipped/broken tooth to anything worse.
The worst case is when you are in immense pain and dentist is not immediately available. This is when you need a temporary solution.
Why a Homemade Tooth Filling?
A homemade solution is however, the perfect thing to have when you encounter a dental emergency when you do not have instant access to a dentist. Or maybe your existing dental filling has come off and you are in extreme pain.
For those emergencies, a homemade temporary tooth filling solution will be your savior!
Making a Temporary Tooth Filling
If you cannot get dental help for any reason such as you cannot afford it at the moment, you don’t have dates available for your dentist, or you are out of your home state or even the country, you can use one of several homemade tooth filling options.
Temporary Homemade Dental Filling Option One
The following is the few things you will need to make this temporary dental filling:
- Zinc Oxide Powder – 1/8 tablespoon
- Eugenol Clove Oil – 1 drop
- Wild Oregano Oil – 1 drop
- Plastic wrap – 1 piece
As you can see, it is just a few items. The local CVS or Walgreen will have Zinc Oxide powder as well. Just mix the powder & oils together to form a thick paste. Make sure your tooth is clean and as dry as possible before applying the putty on it. Try to put in the tooth cavity and firmly place it in.
You can save the remaining mixed putty in a piece of clear plastic wrap to be used as needed. You can keep using the putty to save your tooth until you get help from a dentist.
Temporary Homemade Dental Filling Option Two
The following is the list of things you will need to make this temporary dental filling:
- Hand soap
- Hand towel
- Eye dropper
- Small cotton pellets
- Toothache medicine (containing Benzocaine and/or Eugenol)
- Orthodontic wax
The list of things needed is not for the actual filling, since it is the orthodontic wax that will be used as the filling. The toothache drop will help you if you are suffering from any pain. Simply use a few drops on the tooth for pain relief. Then, cover it with the orthodontic wax.
This can be used for up to 12 hours and then you can replace the filling.
Temporary Homemade Dental Filling Option Three
- DIY Temporary Tooth Filling Kit
A broken or chipped tooth must be taken care of immediately to prevent it from growing into a cavity. If too long is taken without professional medical assistance, the nerve of the tooth can die. The temporary DIY kits can be used to keep teeth from further damage until your dentist appointment.
Bottom Line: Regardless of a Do-It-Yourself home method or DIY Kit, seeing a dentist is a must!
Different Types of Dental Fillings
As you may have understood by now, homemade tooth fillings are a temporary solution. When you go to a dentist, you will encounter the many types of materials used for tooth fillings. The difference in material is due to the differences in desired appearance, costs, durability, etc.
Amalgam (Silver) Fillings
The most common and cost-efficient option is the silver-colored amalgam cavity fillings. They are made up of a mix of metals such as mercury, silver, tin and copper. It is inexpensive, easy to apply and a durable option even for large or deep tooth cavities.
As you may already be thinking, the biggest downside is the look. They are not great to look at which is why most people use amalgam fillings only for inner teeth and not the front ones.
There is debate on the safety of amalgam fillings compared to the next one we will read about, which is composite fillings. But the ADA has marked both to be safe for use in adults and children over the age of 6 years.
Dental Resin Composite Fillings
Composite tooth fillings are another very popular option among patients, as it is able to match closely to natural tooth color. As a result, it is most commonly used for front teeth. They are made of acrylic resin and powdered glass. Composite cavity fillings are like a tooth-colored putty, it’s perfect!
However, there is a downside which is that it is not as durable as amalgam. Which is why, it is not recommended for deep or large fillings. Also, the procedure to place it takes longer and is a bit more complicated.
Gold fillings are like the designer option for tooth fillings. Obviously, they have a distinct Golden look. They are strong, most durable and as a result, the most expensive tooth filling material.
Gold fillings aren’t for everyone. They are not just expensive, but also very time consuming and difficult to place. They must be made in a lab to match the shape or impression of the tooth itself. As a result, more time is to be spent at the dentist.
Temporary Tooth Fillings
Of course, our topic of the day – temporary tooth fillings!
These include homemade options as well DIY kits found in the local pharmacy. Are they safe to use? Reliable homemade options made from trusted materials is fine as well as approved DIY kits sold in stores and pharmacies.
But it is crucial to remember that this is only a temporary option. Only until, you are able to go see a dentist to avoid further damage or pain during the time that you are unable to see a medical professional for help. Most kits use the same type of materials as dentists but not as durable.
Most DIY kits are not made to last, so they are not even designed for a few days. If needed, you must use new ones if you are seeing a dentist after a week or longer. Even for homemade options, the durability is not one to neglect.
Who Should Avoid Getting Tooth Fillings?
Tooth filling, dental filling or cavity filling, whichever name you use to call it, should only be used for someone who has mild tooth decay which has not yet reached the root.
But if you are someone who has severe tooth decay, which has reached the root of your tooth or worse, then this is not the treatment for you. A root canal is something which is a much more advanced dental treatment for those with such conditions. Tooth fillings are ineffective for those with decay which has reached the root or nerves.
Additionally, if you have broken teeth from accidents, chips, cracks, etc. depending on the condition of your teeth, you may be better off with other dental solutions such as crowns, bridges and dentures, rather than tooth fillings.
What Are the Alternatives for Tooth Filling?
If you are suffering from moderate tooth decay, then the most popular, common, trusted and effective treatment is a tooth filling. Your dentist will drill a hole in the tooth, remove all decayed parts and fill it with silver, gold, porcelain or a composite resin material.
Of course, if you have severe tooth decay, then you have options of removing the tooth portion and replacing it with a crown made from gold, porcelain, etc. If the root is damaged, then you will have to opt for a procedure such as a root canal where all the tissue, nerve, blood vessels, etc. of the tooth are removed.
But truly, there is alternative to a tooth filling. Whether you are using a homemade option now, or a DIY kit, this is not a permanent solution. Visit your dentist soon to get tooth filling treatment before the decay gets worse and it is no longer an option.
Many people about going to the dentist thinking the condition may worsen. This is a common misconception and you must not neglect even the simplest of symptoms.
Whether it is a little bit of pain, bleeding gums, bad breath, etc. visit your dentist and make sure everything is in good condition. Modern dentist techniques and procedures have made it most dental treatment pain free but the cost remains to be a concern.
As a result, homemade temporary tooth filling solutions are good option until you save up enough to go the dentist. I hope this article has given you enough information about not just homemade temporary or DIY kit solutions but also, proper dental care and treatments.