If there is a cavity in one of your teeth, you will probably need a filling to rescue your tooth. Today our dentists in Manitoba discuss the reasons why you may need a dental filling and the different types of fillings that are available.
What are dental fillings?
Fillings are used to restore the structure, function and appearance of a tooth that's been damaged or decayed, they could also alleviate any tooth pain you may be feeling.
What are dental fillings used for?
Tooth fillings can repair fractures, cracks, or tooth decay. They help restore functionality to your tooth and are sometimes used to make cosmetic improvements to your smile.
Signs you may need a dental filling
You should visit a dentist who will be able to confirm whether or not you need a filling. We have also listed some signs that could indicate a cavity, which would require a tooth filling. If you experience any of the following symptoms, book 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 various materials, from amalgam to composite, porcelain, and gold. While each of these materials are safe and long-lasting, they also each have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to repairing a cavity or decay. Below, our dentists provide advice on how to make the right dental choice for you.
Porcelain Fillings for Strength & Appearance
Porcelain fillings are also called inlays and onlays. They are brittle, hard, and made in combination with metal. They are made in a dental lab and sent back to your dentist to place, these strong, tooth-colored dental restorations are usually used on molars as they are more durable and longer-lasting than a regular dental filling.
You’ll typically have to visit the dentist twice 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 generally blend in well with the surrounding teeth.
They look and feel natural, and are popular with patients that are concerned with how amalgam (grey) fillings may appear on teeth that are visible when they smile.
Dentists like using composites because they are easy to sculpt and shape onto a tooth, they also bond naturally to teeth. 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.
Your dentist utilizes a curing light 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. They are 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 will need at least two dental appointments to have it placed.