Do I Really Need a Filling or is There Another Option?

By: Stephanie Andrew

!p>Most of us have at some stage in our lives missed our yearly dental check-up only to find soon afterwards that one of our teeth or gums have become sore or sensitive. When we find a cavity or experience sensitive gums – there is no better time to make an appointment at your local dental surgery for a consult to see if anything needs to be done.

The good news is it doesn’t always mean you must have a filling. Dental practitioners now have ways to re-harden the tooth’s enamel in some cases. This new way of looking after your dental need is called “Minimally Invasive Dentistry” and it is not only practiced by dentists in London, New York and Sidney but you should be able to find one in your neighbourhood with relative ease.

How big is the cavity?

If the cavity is only tiny, it shouldn’t need to be filled. Of course you should keep an eye on it and make sure it is kept clean so it doesn’t get worse. But in order to fill a cavity the dentist will have to drill out the cavity itself plus some of the healthy tooth. With minimally invasive dentistry the dentist will endeavour to remove as little healthy tooth as humanly possible. This can now be done due to the advancements in the bonding agents and filling materials used. Often this technique does not require a local anaesthetic either. To recap then, some tooth decay does not always require drilling and should just be monitored rather than filled straightaway. Your dentist should recommend dietary changes to help reduce or arrest any further tooth decay.

Thanks to minimally invasive dentistry a small filling may not even be visible anymore – especially if you get a white filling known as a dental composite. Since the material used in the white fillings is a little more costly than the traditional metal amalgam fillings; an NHS dentist will on most cases forgo the chance to match your natural tooth color in favour of using the cheaper amalgam fillings.

Did you know that the composite fillings are actually manufactured by crushing small of chips of porcelain into a fine powder which is then mixed in a plastic base. This keeps the cost of composite fillings cheaper than full porcelain or gold fillings. Composite fillings are not as strong as amalgam or porcelain fillings, but when used properly are very good indeed.

Aesthetically composite fillings be utilized in very small cavities and are preferred over amalgam fillings; however in larger cavities porcelain fillings have the advantage due to their strength.

Are some UK dentists doing fillings to fill their quotas?

When a dentist caries out NHS dental treatment a filling equates to revenue earned. If they don’t do a filling they receive less money and that means lower earnings for them. So it’s worth finding a dentist you can trust – otherwise you could end up with more fillings than you actually need. This is an issue that is being asked more and more by patients moving towards private dental care. Can I trust my dentist? Did I really need that filling?

The patient and their best interests should always come first – not the dentist’s pay packet.

The best dentists will teach you how to prevent fillings rather than dishing them out to as many people as possible.

Regardless of how many or how few cavities and fillings you currently have, wouldn’t you like to avoid getting anymore? And wouldn’t you like to find an alternative solution to filling the cavities you have now?

Modern techniques do exist that provide alternatives to traditional fillings. If the cavity is a small one it can be hardened to prevent it from getting worse. It is also possible to fill it with resin to prevent further deterioration. It’s certainly more comfortable and practical than the process involved through drilling most of the healthy tooth away to provide a filling.

Invasive surgery should be minimal – and only provided when absolutely necessary

Why opt for invasive procedures when in many cases they can be avoided? Finding a dentist that believes in prevention and can offer advice to help you change your lifestyle for the benefit of your teeth is a great move.

We only get decay when we fail to treat our teeth properly. Of course, brushing twice a day and flossing after meals is a great way of reducing the odds of getting decay in the first place. But the foods and drinks we have also play a role. If your dentist can provide advice on what to eat and what to avoid, you will enjoy a future with far less cavities and treatments as a result.

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Minimally invasive cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Surgery in Harley Street and Golders Green - North West London. Orthodontic and Dentistry care with an ethical approach to dental implants, porcelain crowns, veneers and oral hygiene

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