What is the purpose of dental fillings?
Dental fillings are a type of dental restoration that can be used to help repair minor damage caused by cavities or injuries while helping to restore the strength and natural appearance of the tooth.
When might dental fillings be used?
Your dentist can use fillings to help fix fractures, cracks, or tooth decay. They help restore functionality to your tooth and in some circumstances, dental fillings can be used to make cosmetic improvements to your smile.
Are there any main signs that a dental filling may be needed?
While your dentist will have the final say on whether or not you need a dental filling but there are some signs that can point toward the potential need for this restoration. contact your dentist if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- You feel a sharp or throbbing pain in your tooth.
- When you examine your teeth, you see a hole or dark spot.
- Your tooth is broken or chipped.
- Your tooth feels rough to the touch.
- Food keeps getting stuck between certain teeth.
- An existing tooth filling has broken or cracked.
- You've lost a tooth filling and need a replacement.
What material can dental filling be made of?
Dental fillings can be made of a number of materials, from amalgam to composite, porcelain and gold. While each of these materials is safe and long-lasting, they also each have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to repairing a cavity or decay. Here, our dentists provide advice on how to make the right dental choice for you.
The Strength of Porcelain Fillings
Porcelain fillings are brittle and so they are combined with a metal which makes them a strong dental filling option. Made in a dental lab and sent back to your dentist to place, these strong, tooth-coloured dental restorations are typically used on molars as they are more durable and longer lasting than a regular dental filling.
Your dentist will use two visits to place this type of filling in your mouth.
The Natural Look of Composite Fillings
Composite fillings are one of the most common types thanks to their ability to blend in well with your natural teeth.
They look and feel natural, and are popular with patients who are concerned with how amalgam (grey) fillings may appear on teeth that are visible when they smile.
Dentists are able to shape this type of filling to match that of your other teeth which helps contribute to their ability to blend in. This means your dentist won’t need to remove as much existing enamel when preparing the tooth.
Your dentist will remove tooth decay and add bonding material to the inside of the hole so the filling can be placed. Composite resin is then layered in the hole.
A curing light is used to harden each layer. After all layers are bonded and harder your dentist will do the final shaping of your tooth.
The Durability of Gold Fillings
Cast gold fillings are made using a model of your tooth. Created from a mix of gold combined with other materials such as copper and silver, a cast gold filling is created in a dental lab and sent back to your dentist.
It will then be cemented in place inside your mouth. Though this type of filling is considered the most durable (typically lasting 20 years or more) it is also the most costly. This dental filling, like the porcelain ones, will need two visits to put them in place.