Odds are that if one of your teeth has a cavity, it will have to be restored with a filling. However, did you know that there are different types of dental fillings? Today our Winnipeg dentists discuss the reasons why you might need a filling and the kinds you might be able to pick from.
What are dental fillings?
Dentists use dental fillings to help restore the appearance, structure, and function of a tooth that's been decayed or damaged. This restoration method can also help alleviate any tooth pain you might be experiencing.
Why do dentists use dental fillings?
Tooth fillings can fix fractures, cracks, or tooth decay. They help restore functionality to your tooth and in some circumstances, dental fillings can be used to make cosmetic improvements to your smile.
How can if I need a dental filling?
While you should visit your dentist who will be able to confirm if you need a filling, we have listed some signs that could indicate that you might a cavity and need a dental filling. If you experience any of the following symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist:
- You feel a throbbing or sharp pain in your tooth.
- When you look at 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 caught 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 of a variety of materials, from amalgam to composite, porcelain, and gold. While all of these materials are safe and long-lasting, they also each have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to repairing decay or a cavity. Below, our dentists offer advice on how you can 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
Because they are close to the same colour as natural teeth, composite fillings often blend in well with the surrounding teeth.
They appear and feel natural, which makes them a popular choice among patients that are concerned about how amalgam (grey) fillings can appear on teeth that are visible when they smile.
Dentists like using composites because they bond naturally to a tooth and are easy to sculpt and shape onto a tooth. This means your dentist won’t have 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 they can apply the filling. 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.