Dental Filling FAQ's
Everything You Need to Know About Dental Fillings
When it comes to restoring and preserving teeth affected by decay or damage, dental fillings are a common and effective solution. Fillings are made from various materials and help restore the functionality of a tooth, allowing you to chew and speak properly. They also prevent the spread of decay by sealing off the affected area. The type of filling used will depend on the location and size of the cavity, as well as your budget.
The Most Common Types of Dental Fillings
- Amalgam Fillings – Often referred to as silver fillings, amalgam fillings have been in use for more than a century. They are composed of a mixture of metals, including silver, tin, copper, and mercury. Amalgam fillings are known for their durability and cost-effectiveness.
- Durability: Can withstand the forces of chewing and last for up to 12 years, making them an excellent choice for molars
- Affordability: Typically cost less than other filling materials
- Visible: Silver in color, making them more noticeable than tooth-colored options
- Composite Fillings – Also known as tooth-colored or white fillings, composite fillings have become popular due to their aesthetic appeal. They are made from a blend of plastic resin and glass particles.
- Appearance: Can be matched to the color of your natural teeth
- Bonding: Bond directly to the tooth, which can help strengthen the tooth’s structure
- Cost: More expensive than amalgam fillings and may need to be replaced more often
- Ceramic Fillings – Durability and natural appearance are what set ceramic or porcelain fillings apart from other types of fillings.
- Appearance: Closely mimic the appearance of natural teeth, making them an ideal choice for visible teeth
- Cost: Typically more expensive than amalgam and composite fillings and may need to be replaced more frequently
- Convenience: May not be as quick and easy to place as amalgam and composite fillings, making them a less convenient option for some patients
The Filling Process
Getting a dental filling is a straightforward procedure most often performed in one visit. Your dentist will:
- Numb the area around the affected tooth to ensure you are comfortable.
- Remove the decayed portion of the tooth using a dental drill.
- After cleaning and disinfecting the cavity, the chosen filling material is applied in layers and shaped to match the natural tooth.
- For composite and ceramic fillings, a special light is used to harden the material. The filling is then polished to ensure a smooth finish.
Discuss Options with Your Dentist
Dental fillings offer a way to preserve and restore teeth affected by decay or damage. The type of dental filling you choose will depend on various factors, including the location of the tooth, your aesthetic preferences, and your budget. It’s crucial to discuss your options with your dentist to determine the best filling material for your specific needs and to maintain your oral health for years to come.
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