What is the purpose of dental fillings?
If you are experiencing pain or damage, such as cracks or cavities then your dentists may likely recommend dental fillings to repair your tooth.
How will my dentist use dental fillings?
Tooth fillings can 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.
What are the signs of a tooth in need of repair?
While you should see a dentist to confirm whether you need a filling, here are some signs that you may have a cavity that needs a tooth filling. If you experience any of these, schedule an appointment with your dentist:
- 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.
Are there different types of dental fillings?
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.
Porcelain Fillings Are Durable and Visually Appealing
Also called inlays and onlays, porcelain fillings are brittle, hard, and made in combination with metal. 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.
You’ll usually need to attend two dental appointments so your porcelain filling can be placed in your mouth.
Natural Look & Feel With Composite Fillings
Composite fillings are able to blend in well with the surrounding teeth due to their similar colour.
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 like composites because they are easy to sculpt and shape onto a tooth, and bond naturally to a tooth. 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. Once your dentist has finished hardening each layer they will then shape the tooth to match the others.
Durability From Gold Fillings
Your dentist will take a mold of your tooth to help create a gold filling. Created from a mix of gold combined with other materials such as copper and silver, a cast gold filling is designed 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. You'll also require at least two dental appointments to have it placed.