If you are suffering from a cavity odds are you will need a dental filling to rescue your tooth. But did you know there are different types of fillings that can be used? Today, our dentists in Edmonton share the reasons why you might need a filling, and explain the different types of fillings that are available.
What are dental fillings?
Dental fillings are used to help repair the function, structure, and appearance of a damaged or decayed tooth, helping to alleviate any pain you may be experiencing.
What are dental fillings used for?
Your dentist can use tooth fillings to repair cracks, tooth decay, and fractures. They help restore functionality to your tooth and sometimes they can be used to cosmetically improve your smile.
What are some signs I may need a dental filling?
While we do recommend seeing your dentist who will be able to confirm if you need a filling, we have listed some of the signs that may indicate that you have a cavity and require a tooth filling. If you experience any of the following, make an appointment with your dentist:
- 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 made of a number of materials, from amalgam to composite, porcelain and gold. While each of these materials is safe and long-lasting, they also each have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to repairing 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. 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’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
Since they are close to the same colour as your natural teeth, composite fillings can blend in well with the teeth around them.
They appear and feel almost natural, and are a popular choice among patients that are concerned with how amalgam (grey) fillings might 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.