What exactly are dental fillings?
If you have dental pain or damaged teeth then you may be in need of dental fillings to help restore your teeth and alleviate any pain or discomfort that you are experiencing.
What is the purpose of dental fillings?
Whether you are suffering from broken teeth, decay or cracks, dental fillings may be able to help repair your teeth. They help restore functionality to your tooth and in some circumstances, dental fillings can be used to make cosmetic improvements to your smile.
How will I know if I might need dental fillings?
You may be wondering if there are any typical signs that you may need dental restorations such as fillings. 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.
What are the different types of dental fillings?
When your dentist mentions dental fillings, there are many different types that they might be referencing such as amalgam, 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: Offering Strength
Porcelain fillings are combined with metal to make them strong as porcelain alone can be brittle. You may also hear your dentist refer to these as inlays or onlays. 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.
If you choose porcelain then you with need two dental visits to have these fillings placed.
Composite Fillings: For a Natural Appearance
Composite fillings are tooth coloured which makes them blend well into your teeth making them a discreet option.
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. When the last layer of resin has hardened, the filling will be carefully shaped to match your natural teeth.
Gold Fillings: Longterm Durability
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. You'll also require at least two dental appointments to have it placed.