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Dental Education Lecture: Cases of Filling

Filling is most commonly used to fix cavity (caries).  Fig.1 shows a cavity behind an upper front tooth.  You may see blackness shown through (arrow).  After the cavity is completely removed and white filling material is applied, the tooth looks pretty normal (Fig.2).  This type of cavity is due to lack of flossing

Our teeth may develop holes (notch) for unknown reasons, as shown in Fig.3 (arrows), usually after middle age.  We call them cervical defects. Cervical is a Latin word, meaning of neck.  Therefore this type of defect is found in the neck of the tooth, at the junction of crown and root (see Fig.1 of Tooth Structure Lecture for labeling and definition of tooth structures). The notch may be very close to the nerve (Changes after Extraction (Fig.10 and 11)) .  You may be very sensitive to cold, hot and sour.  After the defects are fixed with white filling, sensitivity usually disappears. Fig.4 shows that two of three defects are fixed.  The patient just puts on his partial denture, as you may notice a wire (hook) for retention and a fake tooth in the front.  We discuss brief how this defect forms in Adult Brushing (Fig.4), and what will happen if we do not fix it early in  Tooth Wear and Tear (Fig.5-10).

White filling can also be used to repair minor tooth chip.  Fig.5 shows three front teeth were chipped due to altercation/brawl. The chips involving the two teeth on your right side are relatively small.  Filling can restore the teeth to normal shape (Fig.6).  In contrast, the tooth on the left has large chip (Fig.5).  The nerve is also dead.  So we need to do root canal (therapy), build-up and crown.  The final result is shown in Fig.6.  The patient is much satisfied.  We discuss different treatment modalities for tooth problems in lecture Tooth Repair.

Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 1/28/2009, last revision 05/11/2009