Fillings have been around for a long time and are a common dental procedure. At Loretto Family Dentistry we use different types of filings to resolve various types of dental issues.
Which Type of Filling is Best?
Fillings help seal cavities and repair cracked or broken teeth. Our dentists also use this dental treatment to help restore normal function and shape to teeth worn down by tooth grinding or acidic food or drinks. Dental fillings are made from many types of material, including gold, amalgam, composite resins, and porcelain.
Amalgam, also known as silver fillings, is one of the most common materials used in dental repair treatments. This type of filling consists of a combination of silver, mercury, tin, and copper metals. Some may also contain small amounts of zinc, indium or palladium. Amalgam is relatively inexpensive compared to other materials and is durable. This material is used on posterior teeth as it’s not tooth-colored and therefore easily noticeable.
The material used in composite resin fillings is a ceramic and plastic compound. This material is used for anterior teeth as it can be made to look like the tooth. As this material is prone to chipping and wearing over time, it’s better for small fillings. Coffee, tea, or tobacco can also stain this type of filling material. Gold and porcelain fillings are the most expensive. The latter look like actual teeth but are more fragile. Gold is usually considered the most durable and long-lasting option for dental fillings.
Ultimately, the location of the filling and extent of the decay determines what type of dental filling we should use. The patients’ budget, insurance coverage, and potential allergies are also factors we take into consideration. Our dentists will assist you in determining which type of filling is best for your needs.
The Filling Procedure
Getting a filling is a relatively simple procedure. We often do simple ones in one session that can last less than an hour. If you have multiple cavities or extensive damage that needs repairing, however, you may need multiple visits.
We’ll begin by examining your teeth to assess the extent of the repair needed. We may also take dental x-rays. X-rays help us uncover any decay or infection that is not always visible to the naked eye. We’ll begin the treatment procedure by numbing the treatment area with a local anesthetic. Next, we’ll remove any signs of decay from the damaged tooth using a dental drill or laser and then shape the tooth in preparation for the filling.
Filings can either be bonded or not bonded to the tooth. Most composite fillings require bonding. If we’re using a bonded filling, we’ll apply the adhesive to the prepared space before the filling material. Certain types of fillings require hardening with a dental curing light. The last step of the procedure is polishing. This is done with a device called a dental bur, and it ensures the area is smooth. Polishing also helps the filling last longer.
If you suspect that you may need a filling or if you need additional information on the procedure, please call Loretto Family Dentistry at (940) 287-3535.