If you have a cavity, you will likely need a dental filling to restore your tooth. Different types of fillings can get the job done. In this post, our Calgary dentists explain why you'd need a tooth filling, and describe different types of fillings to consider.
What are dental fillings?
These restorations are used to restore the structure, function and appearance of a tooth that's been damaged or decayed, alleviating tooth pain you may be experiencing.
Why are dental fillings used?
Tooth fillings can repair tooth decay, cracks, and fractures. Dental fillings aid in restoring your tooth's functionality and, in some cases, can be used to enhance the appearance of your smile.
What are some signs I may need a dental filling?
Here are some indications that you might have a cavity that needs to be filled, though you should still consult a dentist to be sure. Schedule a dental appointment if you experience any of these:
- 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 dental fillings made of?
Dental fillings can be constructed from a variety of substances, including amalgam, composite, porcelain, and gold. While each of these materials is secure and durable, they also each have benefits and drawbacks when it comes to filling cavities or treating decay. Here, our dentists provide advice on how to make the right dental choice for you.
Porcelain Fillings for Strength & Appearance
Porcelain fillings, also known as inlays and onlays, are brittle, hard, and created in conjunction with metal. These sturdy, tooth-coloured dental restorations, which are created in a dental lab and then delivered back to your dentist for placement, are frequently used on molars because they are more long-lasting and durable than a typical 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 they are very similar in colour to natural teeth, composite fillings tend to blend in well with the surrounding teeth.
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.
Composites are popular among dentists because they are simple to sculpt and shape onto a tooth and naturally bond to it. This implies that less existing enamel will need to be removed from the tooth during tooth preparation.
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.
After that, it will be fixed inside of your mouth with cement. Although this kind of filling is thought to be the most long-lasting (20 years or more typically), it is also the most expensive. Additionally, you'll need at least two dental visits to have it put in.