If you are suffering from a cavity, you will generally require a dental filling to restore the tooth. You have a number of filling options to help get the job done, however. Here, our Winnipeg dentists explain why you would require a tooth filling as well as describe your options for fillings.
What are dental fillings?
Fillings are restorations that are used to repair and maintain the appearance, function and structure of a tooth that has been damaged or become decayed. They also can alleviate tooth pain you may be experiencing.
Why are dental fillings used?
Tooth fillings can repair fractures, tooth decay or cracks in your teeth. They restore your tooth's function and can even be used to make cosmetic changes to your smile's appearance.
What are some signs I may need a dental filling?
While you should visit a dentist to definitively confirm whether or not you require a filling, here are some signs that you may need this restorative treatment on one or more of your teeth. If you experience any of the signs or symptoms below, make an appointment with your dentist:
- An existing tooth filling has broken or cracked.
- You feel a sharp or throbbing pain in your tooth.
- Your tooth is broken or chipped.
- Food keeps getting stuck between certain teeth.
- You've lost a tooth filling and need a replacement.
- Your tooth feels rough to the touch.
- When you examine your teeth, you see a hole or dark spot.
What are dental fillings made of?
Dental fillings can be composed of a wide range of materials. These can range from amalgam to porcelain, gold or composite. While these materials are all safe and effective in repairing and protecting your teeth, they each also offer their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to treating your tooth for a cavity or damage. Here, we provide some facts about each to help you make the 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.
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.
The filling will then be cemented into your mouth. Although this kind of filling is generally considered to be the most durable option available, it can also be the most costly. You will require at least 2 dental appointments to have it placed.
Composite Fillings for a Natural Look & Feel
Because they are very similar in colour to natural teeth, composite fillings tend to blend in well with the surrounding teeth.
They look and feel natural, and are popular with patients who are concerned with how amalgam (grey) fillings may appear on teeth that are visible when they smile.
Dentists appreciate how easy composite fillings are to sculpt to the shape of your tooth and how they naturally bond with the tooth too. This means your dentists won't need to remove as much 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 will use a curing light to harden each layer of composite. When the last layer of the composite resin has hardened, your dentist will carefully shape the filling to conform to the natural tooth surrounding it.