What are dental fillings?
These restorations are used to restore the structure, function and appearance of a tooth that's been damaged or decayed, alleviating tooth pain you may be experiencing.
Why are dental fillings used?
Tooth fillings can be used to repair fractures, cracks, or tooth decay. They help restore functionality to your tooth and, in some cases, can be used to improve the appearance of your smile.
What are some signs I may need a dental filling?
While you should see a dentist to confirm whether you need a filling, here are some signs that you may have a cavity that needs a tooth filling. If you experience any of these, schedule an appointment with your dentist:
- You feel a sharp or throbbing pain in your tooth.
- When you examine your teeth, you see a hole or dark spot.
- Your tooth is broken or chipped.
- Your tooth feels rough to the touch.
- Food keeps getting stuck between certain teeth.
- An existing tooth filling has broken or cracked.
- You've lost a tooth filling and need a replacement.
What are dental fillings made of?
Dental fillings can be made from a variety of materials, including amalgam, composite, porcelain, and gold. While each of these materials is safe and long-lasting, they each have their own set of benefits and drawbacks when it comes to repairing a cavity or decay. Our dentists offer advice on how to make the best dental decision for you.
Porcelain Fillings for Strength & Appearance
Porcelain fillings, also known as inlays and onlays, are brittle, hard, and made in conjunction with metal. These strong, tooth-coloured dental restorations are typically used on molars and are made in a dental lab and sent back to your dentist to place because 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.
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.
Composites are popular among dentists because they are simple to sculpt and shape onto a tooth and bond naturally to it. This means that when preparing the tooth, your dentist will not have to remove as much existing enamel.
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.
A curing light is used to harden each layer. When the last layer of resin has hardened, the filling will be carefully shaped to match your natural teeth.
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.
It will then be firmly fixed inside your mouth. Though this type of filling is the most durable (lasting 20 years or more), it is also the most expensive. It will also necessitate at least two dental appointments to be placed.