If one or more of your teeth has a cavity you will probably need a filling to repair your tooth. But did you know there are different types of filling your dentist can use? Here, our dentists in Whitehorse discuss some of the reasons why you may need a filling and the different types of fillings your dentist could use.
What are dental fillings?
Fillings are a type of dental restoration used to return a decayed or damaged tooth to its proper appearance, structure, and function. They could also help alleviate any pain you might feel.
Why do dentists use dental fillings?
Fillings can be used to help restore decayed teeth as well as teeth that have been cracked or fractured. They help return a tooth's functionality and can sometimes be used to make cosmetic improvements to your smile.
How will I know if I need a filling?
You will still need to visit your dentist to learn if you need a filling or not but, we have listed some signs that can tell you that you might have a cavity and require a tooth filling. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms you will need to book an appointment with your dentist:
- You feel a sharp or throbbing pain in your tooth.
- When you examine your teeth, you see a dark spot or hole.
- You have a broken or chipped tooth.
- 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 can dental fillings be made from?
Dental fillings can be made from a handful of different materials such as amalgam, composite, porcelain, and gold. While all of these materials are safe and long-lasting, they all have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to fixing a cavity or decay. Here, our dentists provide advice on how to make the right dental choice for you.
Porcelain Fillings for Strength & Appearance
Also called inlays and onlays, porcelain fillings are brittle, hard, and made in combination with metal. They are made in a dental lab and are sent back to your dentist to use, 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.
Composite Fillings for a Natural Look & Feel
Because their colour is very close to the colour of your natural teeth, composite fillings often blend in fairly well with the surrounding teeth.
They feel and look natural, and are popular with patients that are concerned about how amalgam (grey) fillings could appear on teeth that can be seen 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 for 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.