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Why do you need fillings?

Teeth decay over time due to the effects of sugar. Sugar in food and drink reacts with natural bacteria in your mouth to form acids. Holes then form, which become painful if left untreated.

These need to be filled to prevent further damage. A successful filling can only be placed once all the existing decay has been removed. Fillings are either metal (amalgam) or white (composite) The dentist will advise you on the best choice of filling material for your particular tooth.

How to prevent the need for fillings:

Avoid or cut down on sweets, cakes, sticky snacks and sugary drinks. Non-diet fizzy drinks contain a great deal of sugar. The acid in diet drinks can also be harmful. Look out for “sucrose” on food labels - this is another name for sugar and should also be avoided.

Brush your teeth morning (after breakfast) and night with a fluoride toothpaste, to reduce the damage sugar can do.

Only give children sweets as an occasional treat after (not between) meals, and do not give them fizzy or other sugary drinks. Water, milk or diluted fruit juice are best. Healthy alternatives include fruit and savoury snacks. You should also be careful with breakfast cereal - some brands aimed at children contain a lot of sugar.

When you have a filling done:

The dentist will make you numb to avoid causing you discomfort. This numbness will last for two to three hours. Be careful not to bite your lip or tongue while numb as they will be uncomfortable when the feeling returns.

Some newly filled teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. This can last for several weeks after treatment, particularly with deep fillings. Please be patient as the tooth should settle down. Take mild painkillers if necessary.

Rod will be happy to give you more advice

Tooth decay and fillings