What kinds of dental fillings are there?
There are six classifications of dental fillings, differentiated by the number of surfaces the dental filling restores. The different dental filling classifications involve the following surfaces of the teeth:
Class I – the chewing surface of back teeth*
Class II – the chewing surface and one or more sides of a back tooth.
Class III – the side along with the front and/or back of a front tooth.*
Class IV – the biting edge of a front tooth.
Class V – the tongue or cheek side of a back tooth, just above the gumline.
Class VI – the tip of a cusp of a back tooth.
* Front teeth are considered to be those between the canine teeth in the front of the mouth. Back teeth are considered to be those behind the canine teeth in the back of the mouth
How are dental fillings placed?
After reviewing your medical history to determine whether there are any contraindications to dental treatment a dentist (or possibly a dental hygienist) will usually numb the area of the mouth where the dental filling will be placed by administering an anesthetic. The type of anesthetic will be chosen according to the level and length of anesthesia necessary for the procedure. Once you are numb the damaged tooth structure will be removed by a dentist until only healthy tooth structure remains. Preparation of the tooth beyond removal of decay and fragile fragments depends upon the type of dental filling to being placed. Once the dental filling has been placed inside the tooth, it will be properly shaped, smoothed and polished. Your bite will be adjusted until closing feels natural and your dentist will make sure that you can floss between your teeth. He or she will also check to make sure that food will not be trapped between your teeth and your new dental filling. Once the anesthetic administered to you wears off you should be left with a normal feeling bite and an improved ability to chew.