A filling is a way to repair and restore the surface of a tooth that has been damaged by decay, crack/fracture, or wear. This is necessary to return a tooth back to function the way it is supposed to. When you are getting a filling, the decayed area of the tooth must be removed and disinfected. The cleaned out cavity will then be filled with some type of filling material. This prevents further decay and maintains the longevity of your dental health.
Which Type of Filling is Best for Me?
The best material will depend on each person’s situation. To learn what is right for you will be based on extent of the repair, whether you have allergies to certain materials, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and the cost.
Below are some examples of the various types of fillings.
- Gold fillings are made to order in a laboratory and then cemented into place. Gold inlays are well tolerated by gum tissues, and may last more than 20 years. For these reasons, many authorities consider gold the best filling material. However, it is often the most expensive choice and requires multiple visits.
- Amalgam (silver) fillings are resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive. However, due to their dark color, they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not usually used in very visible areas, such as front teeth.
- Composite (plastic) resins are matched to be the same color as your teeth and therefore used where a natural appearance is desired. The ingredients are mixed and placed directly into the cavity, where they harden. Composites may not be the ideal material for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time. They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco. Composite resins to not last as long as other types of fillings, generally from three to 10 years.
- Porcelain fillings are called inlays or onlays and are produced to order in a lab and then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the color of the tooth and resist staining. A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth. The cost of porcelain fillings is similar to gold.
If decay or a fracture has affected a large portion of the tooth, a crown, or cap, may be recommended instead. Decay that has reached the nerve would be treated differently, in one of two ways: 1) through root canal therapy (in which nerve damaged nerve is removed) or through a procedure called pulp capping (which attempts to keep the nerve alive).
How Do I Know if I Need a Filling?
Only a dental exam can detect whether a cavity is present that requires a filling. During a checkup, your dentist will use a small mirror to examine each tooth.
Anything that looks abnormal will then be closely checked with special dental instruments. We may also X-ray your entire mouth or a section of it as part of the exam. The type of treatment selected will be based on the extent of tooth decay damage.
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Peña Adobe Dental Care
Voted #1 Best Dentist in Solano County
161 Butcher Road
Vacaville, CA 95687
(707) 448 – 6456