Dental Filling

dental practitioner putting filling material in tooth with plugger

Tooth Filling in Singapore

Poor oral health can sometimes lead to serious consequences, one of which is tooth decay. When the tooth starts to decay, reversing the damage is typically not possible. However, a dentist can help to manage the damage by filling the tooth.

If the decay is severe, the damaged tooth may be extracted from the bony socket, a procedure known as tooth extraction.

What is Dental Filling?

A dental filling can help address tooth decay by restoring the affected tooth to its normal function and appearance. The process involves the dentist removing decayed tooth material, cleaning the area, and then filling the cavity with an appropriate material.

How Can a Filling Help with Your Dental Health?

Apart from improving the shape and function of your decayed tooth, a dental filling can also help prevent further tooth decay. By sealing off spaces where bacteria might enter, a tooth filling may help reduce the risk of infection, thus improving oral health.

How Do I Know I Need a Filling?

Identifying the need for a dental filling is crucial to maintaining oral health. During routine dental check-ups, the dentist will examine the teeth, using tools such as small mirrors to inspect all angles and aspects of the teeth to identify any signs of decay. Some of signs and symptoms indicating the need for a filling include:

  • Persistent Toothache or Discomfort: Constant pain or recurring discomfort in the tooth can often signify that decay has reached the nerves or the tooth pulp. This may weaken the tooth structure, leading to the need for dental filling.
  • Increased Sensitivity: Heightened sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet stimuli may indicate that the enamel has been compromised and the sensitive inner layers of the tooth are exposed. This may indicate an opening in the tooth, which may require dental filling.
  • Visible Damage to the Tooth: Holes, pits, or dark spots on a tooth’s surface are common signs of decay. Dental fillings can help improve the appearance, minimising the need for tooth extraction.
  • Changes in Texture or Colour: Noticeable changes in the feel or appearance of a tooth surface can be a sign of enamel erosion or decay. These may point to the need for a dental filling to manage the decay.

Types of Dental Fillings: Materials and Comparisons

Filling materials come in several types. You can get a tooth filling of your choice according to your needs and preferences. Here are the types of fillings available:

Gold Fillings

Gold fillings can last for over 20 years. They are inert, strong, and considered one of the best choices today. However, these fillings can be quite costly, and they may require multiple visits to the dentist, which can add to the overall cost.

Composite Resin Fillings

Composite resin fillings are plastic fillings that can match the colour of your natural teeth. This makes them cosmetically favourable. However, these filings are less suitable for large fillings because they can chip away over time.

Porcelain Fillings

Another popular option is porcelain fillings which are bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the natural colour of the tooth and can be used for larger fillings. But, like gold fillings, they may also be on the high-end side.

Metal Fillings (Amalgam Filling)

Metal fillings like silver are relatively more affordable and can last for a long time. However, their main drawback is that they are slightly darker in colour and may not have the best cosmetic effect.

The Dental Filling Procedure: What to Expect

The dental filling process is a multi-step procedure, typically completed over a single visit. Here’s a detailed guide to the procedure:

Initial Consultation and Diagnosis

Your journey will begin with a dental examination, whereby the team at your chosen dental clinic will assess the extent of tooth decay with the use of diagnostic imaging technologies such as X-rays and visual inspections. This stage is crucial in helping to develop a treatment plan tailored to the unique needs of each patient.

Preparation for the Procedure

Once they have evaluated the extent of the tooth decay, the dentist may discuss the patient’s medical history and address any concerns they may have. This step helps to ensure a safe and effective procedure, taking into account any unique health considerations or potential complications.

Anaesthesia Application

To ensure patient comfort, local anaesthesia is administered to numb the area around the affected tooth. This step is necessary to make the procedure as comfortable as possible, allowing for a better patient experience.

Decay Removal

Once the area is numb, the dentist will use specific tools to remove the decayed portion of the tooth. This step is performed with precision to ensure only the decayed material is removed while preserving as much of the healthy tooth structure as possible.

Tooth Preparation

After decay removal, the tooth is cleaned to eliminate any remaining bacteria or debris. This step is vital in preventing further decay and ensuring the filling bonds properly with the tooth.

Filling Application

The dentist then places the selected filling material, such as composite resin, gold, or silver amalgam, into the prepared cavity. This material is selected based on the location of the tooth, the extent of decay, and the patient’s preferences.

Curing Process

For composite resin fillings, a special light is used to quickly and effectively harden the material, ensuring the filling is strong and durable.

Shaping and Polishing

The filling is then shaped to match the natural contour of the tooth and polished to a smooth finish. This not only ensures that the filling is comfortable and functional but also aesthetically pleasing.

Post-Procedure Care Advice

Upon completion of the procedure, the dental clinic will provide detailed guidance on post-procedure care. This includes advice on oral hygiene practices, dietary recommendations, and any follow-up appointments needed. This is essential for ensuring the longevity of the filling and the continued health of the tooth.

Post-Procedure Care and Managing Sensitivity

After a dental filling procedure, it is advisable to follow the dentist’s aftercare instructions to help ensure a smooth recovery. It will also help to improve oral health.

Immediate Aftercare

Immediately after the procedure, patients may experience numbness due to anaesthesia. It is crucial to avoid biting on the numb area to prevent accidental injury. Patients are advised to wait until the numbness wears off before eating.

Managing Sensitivity

It is common for patients to experience some sensitivity in the treated tooth, particularly to hot, cold, or pressure, in the days following the procedure. This sensitivity is temporary and may diminish over time. To help manage this, you may use toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth and avoid extremely hot or cold foods and beverages.

Oral Hygiene Practices

Maintaining good oral hygiene is also important after a filling. This includes regular brushing and flossing to keep the area clean and prevent further decay. Patients are advised to be gentle around the newly filled tooth to allow for healing.

Foods and Drinks to Avoid

In the initial days after the procedure, it is advisable to avoid hard, sticky, or chewy foods that could dislodge or put pressure on the new filling. Instead, opt for softer foods that are easier to chew.

Follow-Up Visits

Follow-up visits may be necessary to check the dental filling and ensure that it has settled correctly. These visits provide an opportunity for the dentist to make any necessary adjustments and to assess overall oral health.

Cost of Tooth Fillings in Singapore

The cost of tooth fillings in Singapore can vary, influenced by several factors that patients may consider when planning their dental care. These factors include:

  • Type of Filling Material: Different materials, such as composite resin, gold, porcelain, or silver amalgam, may have varying prices. Composite resin fillings, for example, can be more affordable than gold or porcelain but may not last as long.
  • Size and Location of the Cavity: Larger cavities and those located in harder-to-reach areas may require more time and material to fill, which can increase the cost.
  • Additional Dental Work: If additional procedures, such as a dental cleaning or an X-ray, are needed during the filling process, this can also impact the overall cost.
  • Dental Insurance Coverage: Patients with dental insurance may check their policy to understand what is covered, as this can help reduce out-of-pocket expenses.

Payment Plans and Financial Assistance for Dental Fillings

When considering dental filling, it is important to understand the associated costs, as they vary based on factors such as the complexity of the procedure and individual patient needs. 

To manage these costs, patients can explore several avenues for more affordable dental care. Subsidies, such as the CHAS Dental Subsidy and Medisave, are options that can help reduce out-of-pocket expenses.

For those with dental insurance, the dental team of your chosen dental clinic can assist in understanding and processing claims. They can also provide support throughout the claims process, helping patients maximise their benefits and reduce their financial burden.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tooth Filling in Singapore

The choice of dental filling material is tailored to individual needs, considering factors like the location of the cavity, aesthetic preferences, the extent of tooth decay, and any specific dental sensitivities or allergies. Your dentist will provide insights to help you understand the pros and cons of each material and guide you in making the most suitable choice for your dental health and lifestyle.

Preparing for a tooth filling involves maintaining good oral hygiene, including proper brushing and flossing. It is also advisable to eat a regular meal beforehand since the anaesthetic used might cause temporary numbness, making eating difficult post-procedure. Informing the dentist about any ongoing medical conditions or medications can be helpful as this may ensure a safe and effective treatment.
Due to the use of local anaesthesia in the treatment area, you may experience minimal pain during the procedure. While you may feel slight pressure during the procedure, significant pain is generally not experienced. If you have any concerns or a low threshold for discomfort, please communicate with the team so that they can take additional steps to optimise your comfort.
It is common to experience some sensitivity in the treated tooth after a filling, particularly to temperature changes or pressure. This sensitivity usually subsides within a few days. Patients are advised to use toothpaste for sensitive teeth and avoid extreme temperatures in food and drinks. If sensitivity persists or is severe, a follow-up appointment may be necessary.
The longevity of a dental filling depends on several factors, including the type of material used, its location in the mouth, and the patient’s oral hygiene practices. Composite fillings, for example, may last around five to seven years, while gold and porcelain can last 15 to 20 years or more with proper care. Regular dental check-ups are important to monitor the condition of the filling and overall oral health.

Learn About Tooth Filling in Singapore

Looking to address decay or dental discomfort with a dental filling? You may seek advice from our dental clinic in Jurong to learn more about the procedure.

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