Your dentist will probably recommend a dental filling if you have a cavity to help restore your tooth. Here, our Vancouver dentists discuss the reasons why you may need a filling as well as the different types of fillings your dentist might have available.
Dental fillings, what are they?
Dental fillings are a type of restoration treatment that is used to help correct the structure, function, and appearance of a decayed or damaged tooth. They can also help alleviate the pain you may feel as a result of a damaged/ decayed tooth.
What are dental fillings used for?
Your dentist can use tooth fillings to help mend cracks, fractures, or tooth decay. Fillings can also help restore a tooth to its full function or even help improve the aesthetic appearance of your smile.
How will I know if I need a dental filling?
We highly recommend visiting your dentist who will be able to tell you if you need a filling. But here, we list some of the signs that could indicate that you might need a dental filling:
- 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.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms contact your dentist immediately to schedule an appointment.
What can dental fillings be made from?
Dental fillings can be made from various kinds of materials, such as amalgam, composite, porcelain, or gold. All of the materials listed here are safe and long-lasting, and each has their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to repairing tooth decay or a cavity. Here, our dentists offer you advice to help you make your dental choice.
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 colour of natural teeth, composite fillings generally blend in well with their surrounding teeth.
They feel and appear natural, and are a popular selection amoung patients that are concerned with how amalgam (grey) fillings might look on teeth that are visible 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.