Dental decay and pain-free fillings
2nd November 2023
Many of our new patients come in for care because they are suffering from pain caused by dental decay. As… read more
Many of our new patients come in for care because they are suffering from pain caused by dental decay. As dentists, we feel for our patients. We don’t want anyone to suffer from toothache. Our aim is to help our patients live a pain-free life, which is why preventive care guides everything we do.
With expert advice and clinical images from SpaDental dentist Nader Botros, this article explains how preventive care helps patients live pain-free.
The most common reason for pain in the mouth is dental decay. That is when bacteria have broken into the tough enamel casing of our teeth. The deeper the decay, the more it exposes sensitive pulp. Although dental enamel is the toughest and most resistant material in our body, sugar, acid and pressure can erode and damage it, opening up pathways to decay.
If you visit your dentist for regular check-ups, your clinician can spot dental decay in the early stages before it becomes too deep and has the chance to compromise your tooth health too much. Our aim is to catch a concern and treat it before it becomes a problem.
This is what preventive care is all about.
Same day filling
Dentist Nader says: “I understand how difficult it can be for patients to come in for a dental check, only be told to make another appointment in a few weeks. Most of us don’t want to have to wait. That’s why, when I can, I like to place a filling, if needed, during the initial examination. When possible, I provide the solution the very same day!” Nader treats patients in SpaDental Ledbury and Ross-on-Wye.
This clinical photograph clearly shows a patient’s back tooth has a small trace of decay developing in the grooves of the tooth’s surface. Because we use our back teeth for chewing, and the surface of our back teeth is uneven, they are more vulnerable to caries.
Even at this early stage, the decay is visible, but the patient is not aware there’s a problem. Because the decay has not had the chance to penetrate too far, the patient isn’t experiencing the warning sign of pain.
Regular dental checks for early detection of caries are essential for effective preventive dental care.
Modern fillings are made of a tooth-coloured composite material. This means that, unlike grey metal amalgam fillings, it takes a trained eye to know the filling is there.
Composite fillings sit best and are most secure if applied in a dry environment. As our mouths are designed to be wet, the clinician must pay particular attention to isolating the tooth from saliva.
The photograph shows the site isolated with a dental dam (the blue material covering the patient’s gums).
The decay in this patient’s tooth was shallow, and so the procedure was straightforward. With no need for a local anaesthetic and only a small amount of drilling to clean away the damage, the process was totally pain-free.
In this photograph, you can see a plastic wedge between two teeth to keep the integrity of the spacing, and a metal clamp anchoring the dental dam while also retracting the gingiva (gum) a little.
At this stage, the filling material still looks like white paste.
Composite technology has transformed how dentists can restore teeth.
This photograph is taken after the dentist has used a light to cure the filling. The filling becomes hard and you can see here how the colour matches and blends in perfectly with the natural tooth.
To finish, the dentist will check your bite and smooth down raised surfaces so the restored tooth is comfortable and feels as natural as it looks.
We hope this short explanation of how a composite filling is placed will help you understand the process. With early detection of caries, you can live your life without knowing dental pain.
Please get in touch to find out more or book an appointment.
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