A filling is the most common way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. When you go in for a filling, your dentist will remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned-out cavity with a filling material.
By closing off spaces where bacteria can enter, a filling also helps prevent further decay. Materials used for fillings include gold, porcelain, a composite resin (tooth-colored fillings), and an amalgam (an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin and sometimes zinc).
Types of Cavity Fillings
The type of filling right for you will be determined by the extent of the repair, whether you have allergies to certain materials, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and the cost.
Considerations for different materials include:
- Gold fillings are made to order in a laboratory and then cemented into place. Gold inlays are well tolerated by gum tissues, and may last more than 20 years.
- Amalgam fillings are resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive. However, due to the silver colour, they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not usually used in very visible areas.
- Composite resins are matched to be the same colour as your teeth and therefore used where a natural appearance is desired. Composites may not be the ideal material for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time.
- Porcelain fillings are produced to order in a lab and then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the colour of the tooth and resist staining. A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth.
- If you have damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown, or cap, may be recommended.
Taking Care of Fillings
It’s important to remember to continue with your oral care routine. If you’re tooth becomes sensitive after the filling, try products designed specifically to protect sensitive teeth.
How Do You Know if You Need a Filling?
When you visit your dentist, they will be able to detect whether you have a cavity that needs to be filled. During a routine checkup, your dentist will examine the surfaces of each tooth. Your dentist may also X-ray your entire mouth or a section of it.
Book a consultation with Dr. Adibfar to learn more about her restorative dentistry services.