If you have cavities, you will likely require fillings to restore your teeth. Different kinds of shillings can get the job done. Here, our North York dentists explain what you need from a dental filling and explain what kinds of fillings may be worth considering.
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?
Fillings can fix fractures, cracks, tooth decay and more. They also help to restore the functionality of your teeth and, in some cases, may even be used to make cosmetic improvements to your smile.
What are some signs I may need a dental filling?
While you should always see a dentist to confirm whether or not you require a filling, the following are a few signs that you may have a cavity that requires a tooth filling. if you experience any of these, schedule an appointment with your dentist to learn more:
- Your tooth feels rough to the touch.
- Your feel a sharp or throbbing pain in your tooth.
- Your tooth is broken or chipped.
- When you examine your teeth, you see a hole or dark spot.
- An existing tooth filling has broken or cracked.
- You've lost a tooth filling and need a replacement.
- Food keeps getting stuck between certain teeth.
What are dental fillings made of?
Dental fillings can be made from a number of materials, ranging from amalgam to composite, porcelain and gold. While each of these materials are long-lasting and safe, they each offer their own advantages and disadvantages too when it comes to the repair of cavities and tooth decay. Here, our dentists provide some advice on making the right choice for your smile.
Porcelain Fillings for Strength & Appearance
Also called inlays and onlays, porcelain fillings are brittle, hard, and made in combination with metal. 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.
You generally need to attend two dental appointments for the placement of porcelain fillings in your smile.
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.
These fillings both look and feel natural and can be quite popular with patients who are worried about how the grey amalgam fillings may look on teeth when placed visibly in their smiles.
Dentists often like composites from a treatment perspective since they are easy to sculpt and shape inside the tooth. This means that your dentist won't need to remove as much existing enamel when preparing the tooth for treatment.
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.