If you have a cavity in a tooth, you will likely need a dental filling in order to restore it. Different kinds of fillings can get the job done, however. Here, our Burnaby dentists explain why you might need a tooth filling as well as what kinds of fillings you should consider.
What are dental fillings?
These restorations are used to help restore the function, appearance and structure of a tooth that can become damaged or decayed. It also alleviates pain in that tooth that you may have been experiencing.
Why are dental fillings used?
Tooth fillings are able to fix fractures, tooth decay or cracks. They help to restore the functionality of your tooth and, in some cases, dental fillings that can be used to make cosmetic improvements to your smile.
What are some signs I may need a dental filling?
While you should see a dentist first in order to confirm whether or not you will require a filling, here are a few signs that you may have a cavity that need filling. If you experience any of the below symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist for an examination.
- When you examine your teeth, you see a hole or dark spot.
- You feel a sharp or throbbing pain in your tooth.
- You've lost a tooth filling and need a replacement.
- Your tooth feels rough to the touch.
- Your tooth is broken or chipped.
- An existing tooth filling has broken or cracked.
- Food keeps getting stuck between certain teeth.
What are dental fillings made of?
Dental fillings can be made from a number of different materials, ranging from amalgam to porcelain, gold and composite resin. While each of these materials can offer safe and long-lasting treatment options for your cavity or damage, they each offer their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to repairing your tooth. Here, we provide some advice about how to make the choice between the three.
Composite Fillings for a Natural Look & Feel
Since they are quite similar in colour to your natural teeth, composite fillings are able to blend in with your surrounding smile.
They both appear and feel similar to a natural tooth and because of this, are popular with patients that may be concerns with the appearance of a filling on their tooth 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.
Porcelain Fillings for Strength & Appearance
Sometimes called inlays or onlays, porcelain fillings are very hard since they are crafted in combination with metal. Crafted in a dental labe and then sent to your dentist, these durable and strong tooth-coloured restorations are generally used on damage or cavities found in molars since they can last through more wear and tear than other fillings.
You’ll usually need to attend two dental appointments so your porcelain filling can be placed in your mouth.
Gold Fillings for Durability
Cast gold fillings are generally crafted from a model of your tooth. They are made from a mixture of copper, silver and gold in a dental labe before being sent to your dentist for placement into your smile.
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.