A filling is a dental restorative procedure that involves removing decayed tooth material, cleaning the area, and then filling out the cavity with a strong and durable material. Cavities are permanently damaged areas in your tooth that can lead to holes, where bacteria can manifest and, eventually, lead to serious dental problems.
Cavities are the most common health problem and are prevalent in children, adolescents, and adults. Regular brushing, flossing, and periodic dental check-up at Enhance Family Dental can reduce the chances of cavities. However, if you do get cavities, fillings help prevent further decay by sealing the damaged areas.
Materials Available For Fillings
At Enhance Family Dental, we can determine the type of fillings that are the best option for your treatment.
Dental fillings are available in several materials, including gold, silver amalgam, porcelain, glass ionomer, and composite fillings.
Cast Gold Fillings
Gold fillings, also called inlays and onlays, are made in a dental laboratory and then fixed into place. Gold fillings are very well tolerated by gums and can last for over 15 years which is why gold is considered to be the best type of filling materials. However, unsurprisingly, these filling are much more expensive than other types of fillings. Some people also find the color of gold to be aesthetically unappealing.
Silver Amalgam Filling
Amalgam fillings are made from a mixture of silver, tin, mercury, and copper. This alloy can last for 10 to 15 years and is quite strong. It is less expensive than gold and composite fillings. However, some people don’t like the silver color on their tooth. Amalgam material also cracks and expands in the presence of hot and cold foods, which can result in fractures and cracks.
The biggest advantage of composite fillings is that their color matches your teeth. Composite fillings are placed directly into your cavities, where they harden. However, it is not the strongest material and usually lasts just over five years. They can also get stained because of tea, coffee, and tobacco. Composite fillings can cost twice as much as amalgam fillings.
Porcelain or ceramic fillings are more resistant to stains than composite resin material. These fillings can last for over 15 years and are almost as expensive as gold fillings.
Glass Ionomer Filling
Glass ionomer is made of acrylic material. This type of filling is quite weak and hence is used mostly on children’s teeth. It also releases fluoride which can prevent further tooth decay. Glass ionomer fillings do not last more than five years and may cost as much as composite resin cement.
What to Expect During a Filling
At Enhance Family Dental, Brian Hill, DDS will first perform a dental check-up and examine the surface of each tooth. Any place that looks vulnerable will be checked with special instruments, and an x-ray may also be ordered.
If it is determined that a filling is needed, we will first numb the area surrounding the tooth with a local anesthetic. Next, we will use tools like a drill or air abrasion instrument to remove the decayed part of the tooth. Once the decay has been removed, we will prepare a space for the filling by cleaning out debris and bacteria. If the decay is very near the root, we may first add composite resin, glass ionomer or other protective material to protect the nerve. After the cavity has been filled with the filling, we will harden it with a curing light, trim off the excess material and polish the restorative work.
If you suspect you have a cavity, call us at (586) 666-4950 to schedule an appointment. When it comes to having your cavity filled, it is best to leave decisions like choosing the best treatment option and picking the right filling materials until after the consultation.