Fillings help restore teeth damaged by decay back to their normal function, and can prevent further decay.
Fillings are done to preserve integrity of the tooth and make it strong and resilient. Unfortunately, even the most careful patients are still capable of having a tooth that experiences decay. Cavities start out small and gradually grow to the point where they risk infecting the inner pulp of the tooth where the nerves are present. Before it is allowed to do this, the decay can be removed and a filling placed. It is important to remove the decay from the tooth in order to save the tooth from further damage.
What is a Dental Filling?
A dental filling is a material that is placed into a part of the tooth where decay is present. The decay is first removed and the small hole filled with a type of material. There are two main types of fillings available: composite (tooth-colored) and amalgam (metal). The filling is specifically done to preserve the integrity of the tooth and retain its shape and resiliency.
Why would someone need a Filling?
An exam is done before having a filling placed to determine if you are a viable candidate. There are several reasons why a filling may be placed and these include:
- You have a cavity (decay) that needs attention
- You have deep grooves in your teeth that could potentially become a problem with decay
- You have older metal fillings that you’d like to replace
- You have old fillings that have shrunken or become loose
Different types of Fillings
By closing off spaces where bacteria can enter, a filling also helps prevent further decay. Closing off the space that bacteria enters a tooth is through the use of filling materials. The most common materials used for fillings include a composite resin (tooth-colored fillings), and an amalgam . The most common types of fillings include:
- Composite tooth colored fillings- are matched to be the same color as your teeth and therefore used where a natural appearance is desired. The ingredients are mixed and placed directly into the cavity, where they harden. Composites may not be the ideal material for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time.
- Amalgam (silver) fillings – are resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive. However, due to their dark color, they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not usually used in very visible areas, such as front teeth. These types of fillings are becoming less common due to their dark color.
- Porcelain fillings are called inlays or onlays and are produced to order in a lab and then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the color of the tooth and resist staining. A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth. Their cost is similar to gold.
If you need to have a dental filling, contact us today and one of our helpful staff members will be happy to assit you.