Dental fillings are simple restorations used to fix teeth with cavities, fractures, and other issues. Fillings come in a wide variety of materials including gold, silver (Amalgam), and white fillings (composite or resin). You can use fillings to restore teeth with cavities, abrasions, and minor fractures. Fillings can also be used for simple cosmetic procedures, such as closing small gaps between your teeth or repairing teeth with a color mismatch.
What are the benefits of filling your teeth?
Filling your teeth is generally a simple, affordable, and convenient procedure. By placing a filling on your teeth you can protect them against further damage. If you don’t fill teeth with cavities, the cavity continues to grow. Eventually, the cavity reaches your tooth nerve and causes pain and infection. At this point, you can no longer fix your tooth with a simple filling. You now require a root canal or you may even lose your tooth! Don’t wait until your cavity becomes so large that they can no longer fix your tooth with a filling. Contact your dentist to have your cavities examined and fix them before they become an even bigger problem.
When does my tooth need a filling?
Fillings are one of the most useful treatments in dentistry. Here’s a look at some dental conditions which can be successfully treated using dental fillings:
You can use dental fillings to fix teeth with cavities. Once your tooth develops a cavity, the cavity bugs never go away by themselves. Your cavity will continue becoming larger and encroaching on your tooth nerve. Placing a filling stops the growth of cavities and gets your tooth back to its healthy and happy state. Fillings protect your teeth against further damage and avoid the need for root canals, crowns, or possible tooth loss.
Minor cracks and fractures
You can also use fillings to fix teeth with minor cracks and fractures. First, your dentist will remove the damaged portion of your teeth. Then they replace your missing tooth structure with either a white or silver filling material. Keep in mind, larger cracks and fractures are typically not a candidate for fillings. Teeth with more extensive damage require a more advanced dental restoration, such as an inlay, onlay, or crown.
Minor cosmetic dentistry procedures
White fillings have some limited uses in cosmetic dentistry as well. Dental bondings and composite veneers are examples of white fillings used to enhance your smile. You can also use white fillings to fix teeth with stains, discoloration, to close small gaps, and for other minor cosmetic procedures.
Additional uses for dental fillings
Fillings have many more other implications in dentistry, such as:
- Repairing teeth with abrasions
- Preventive treatment for teeth with deep groves
- Buildup material for teeth treated with a root canal
- Sealing the access to dental implant abutments
- Opening up your bite during orthodontic treatment
- As a temporary cover for teeth prepared for inlays and onlays
As you can see, fillings are an essential part of dentistry. Most dentists rely on their filling materials to get them through each and every day. Dentists use fillings to restore all sorts of different dental conditions which explains why fillings are considered an integral part of dentistry.
What are the different types of fillings?
There are 3 different types of filling materials used in dentistry: silver fillings (Amlagam), white fillings (composite and resin) and gold fillings. Here’s what you need to know about each one:
Silver fillings (Amalgam)
Silver fillings, also known as Amalgam, are one of the most widely used filling materials. This is because silver fillings are water-resistant and extremely durable, which makes them very easy to work with. The downside of silver fillings is that Amalgam contains mercury, which is a known toxin. However, there is no conclusive evidence that Amalgam fillings cause harm to your body. Many dentists still offer Amalgam fillings as a treatment option, while others choose to only offer white fillings as a treatment option.
White fillings (Composite and resin)
White fillings, which are composites and resins, are cosmetic fillings used as an alternative to silver fillings. Since white fillings come in a variety of different shades, your dentist can use white fillings to match the exact color of your teeth. As a result, white fillings give your teeth a natural-looking appearance and blend in seamlessly with your actual teeth. Additionally, white fillings are sturdy and extremely durable. You can use white fillings to restore both front and back teeth with excellent long-term results.
Gold fillings are the original filling material. Since gold is malleable, durable, and can be easily contoured, it makes for the perfect dental restoration material. However, the high cost of gold as well as most patient’s desire to match their teeth color has rendered gold fillings obsolete in many parts of the world.
What is the tooth filling procedure?
Filling your teeth is a simple and relatively painless procedure. Here’s what you should expect from a typical dental filling procedure:
Preparing your tooth
Filling treatment usually starts off with your dentist numbing your tooth. Typically, one to two shots is all it takes to numb you up for a simple filling. Once numb, your dentist starts removing the cavity or fracture and prepares your tooth for a filling.
Filling the tooth
Once your cavity has been removed and the tooth has been prepared, it’s time to fill the hole. Your dentist will pack your tooth with either a white or silver filling material. He or she will check your bite, evaluate the tooth contacts, and smooth out any rough edges that the filling may have. Pay close attention to the fit and feel of your new filling and make sure you like it. You’re now all done with your new filling! Just make sure to follow your dentist’s recommendation on what to do afterward and contact them should you have any issues in the future.
Limitations of fillings
Fillings offer a great solution for fixing many different dental problems. However, fillings are not a good option for fixing large cavities, deep fractures, or teeth with extensive damage. This is because fillings are not strong enough to support severely broken down teeth. In these conditions, fillings either fail, fall out, or cause your tooth to endure more damage in the long-run. To fix teeth with large defects you typically require an inlay, onlay, or crown. Talk to your dentist to decide if a filling is a good treatment option or if you require a more advanced dental restoration instead.
Fixing your teeth with fillings
You need to see your dentist if you think you have a cavity, broken tooth, or any other dental problem. The sooner you visit your dentist, the better your chances of getting away with a simple filling instead of a crown or root canal. This will save you both time and money, plus you won’t have to endure multiple visits and possible referrals to specialists. If you currently don’t have a dentist, you can use our dentist Search Engine to find a great dentist near you. Browse through profiles to read reviews, view treatment photos, and learn more about dentists near you. You can even schedule your appointment conveniently online. Let’s find yourself a great dentist to get your fillings before it’s too late!