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What is a dental filling?

Teeth with tooth-coloured fillings.

Dental fillings are one of the most common dental procedures performed to restore teeth that have been damaged by decay or trauma. A dental filling is a material that is used to fill the hole left in a tooth after decay has been removed. This material is designed to blend in with the natural tooth structure and provide support and protection to the remaining tooth structure. Let's discuss the process of getting a dental filling, the benefits of dental fillings, the history of dental fillings, and how to maintain them.

The process of getting a dental filling involves the following steps:

  1. Numbing: Before the procedure begins, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth using a local anesthetic. This is done to ensure that the patient does not feel any pain during the procedure.
  2. Removal of decay: Once the area is numb, the dentist will remove the decay from the tooth using a drill or laser. This is done to create a clean, healthy surface for the filling material to adhere to.
  3. Preparation: After the decay has been removed, the dentist will prepare the tooth for the filling material by cleaning the area and shaping it to fit the filling.
  4. Placement of filling: Once the tooth has been prepared, the dentist will place the filling material in the hole left by the decay. The material will be smoothed and shaped to ensure a comfortable and natural-looking result.
  5. Polishing: After the filling has been placed, the dentist will polish the tooth to create a smooth and shiny surface.
A woman getting a filling under under an ultraviolet lamp.

At Monterey Dental our dentists use Grandio Flow composite and the benefits of this type of filling is:

The Benefits of Fillings:

Dental fillings offer several benefits, including:

A Brief History of Fillings:

The history of dental fillings can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians, who used a mixture of crushed shells, bones, and oyster shells to fill cavities. The ancient Greeks and Romans also used various materials to fill cavities, including resin, lead, and even gold. However, it wasn't until the 19th century that dental fillings became more advanced.

In 1828, the first amalgam filling was introduced by French physician Louis Nicolas Regnart. Amalgam fillings, made of a mixture of mercury, silver, tin, and copper, became the most common type of filling material for over a century. In the 1960s, composite resin fillings were introduced, which offered a more aesthetically pleasing option for filling cavities.

Proper Maintenance of Fillings

A woman at the dentist admiring her smile in a hand held mirror.

To ensure the longevity of dental fillings, it is important to practice good oral hygiene. This includes:

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