If a tooth is damaged due decay, trauma or has an inherent defect, then this may be repaired using a filling. There are a variety of materials available to restore the integrity, function and aesthetics of the tooth.
It is important that if you need a filling, that it is done early to prevent further damage to the tooth and the loss of any more tooth structure and further weakening of the tooth, along with the possible risk to the nerve of the tooth.
How do I know If I need a filling?
In most cases you will be unaware if you need a filling unless there has been a trauma and you can detect and change in the shape of the tooth. Dental decay is normally painless until it reaches the nerve of the tooth or allows stimuli to reach the nerve. At this stage the filling will be close to the nerve and may result in the nerve dying off due to bacterial infiltration and infection after the filling.
Types of Material:
- Amalgam (silver filling)
- Composite Resin (white filling)
- Porcelain or Gold Inlays
Amalgam (“Silver Fillings”)
This is still the most commonly used filling material in the world today. It is a mixture of mercury and at least one other metal. The most common metals used are Silver, Tin, Copper and Zinc. This is a very hard wearing material, however in large fillings, it leaves the remaining tooth structure in a very weak condition and has a high risk of fracture. Due to advances in composite (tooth colour) filling material, the average life span of both materials are now comparable.
- Easy to use
- Long lasting
- Leakage and Corrosion
- Contains Mercury
- Weakens teeth
Porcelain or Composite (“White Fillings / Cosmetic Fillings”)
These are the most popular material for filling teeth as they are now matched perfectly to the colour of the tooth, repairing the tooth to its original condition or as the technology develops, the uses have expanded to aesthetic procedures such as veneers with great success. Composite material is placed as a soft putty of liquid form and then hardened with a blue light (curing process). In some cases this may not be possible. These are reliant on good tooth condition and in cases where teeth are at risk or too weak to be ideally restored with composite, we can advise a patient they may consider using a tooth coloured glass ceramic filling to provide extra strength and excellent aesthetics.
- Great appearance
- Long lasting
- May discolour with age
- Need to placed with great care
Restorations are commonly made from Porcelain are usually stronger and longer lasting than fillings done directly in the mouth and are best suited in situations where the tooth may be very damaged.These restorations may require more than one visit as they are made on a model by a specialist in a lab, however with the advancement of dental technology, we now have a CEREC 3-D scanner and milling machine, meaning theses advance and complex dental restorations can be provided to patients at a single visit.
- Look beautiful
- Best for very damaged teeth
- Fit perfectly into teeth
- Takes two visits to complete
- In most cases very long lasting
- Larger initial investment
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