Cavities are the number one enemy of your teeth, and unfortunately, one of the most common dental problems experienced by both children and adults. The primary way to fix a cavity is by filling it, and this is one of the most routine dental procedures today.
But what exactly is involved in filling a tooth? And what type of filling is best?
What Is A Filling?
Put simply, a filling is a way to restore a tooth that has been damaged by decay.
A cavity is a damaged part of your tooth that has developed into a hole. When your dentist decides to fill a cavity, he or she removes any decay and cleans the affected area. Next, the dentist fills the cavity with a special filling material. This restores the tooth to its proper shape and function, as well as preventing further decay.
What Are Some Different Types of Fillings?
There are various materials that dentists use to fill cavities, and no one material is best for everyone. Before deciding which material to use for your tooth, your dentist will consider which tooth needs to be filled, how much of it has been damaged, what allergies you have, and the cost.
The most popular filling materials are made of the following materials:
Gold: Gold fillings have been used for many years and are well tolerated by many patients’ gum tissues. They have a life span of more than 20 years, making this the ideal choice for many dentists and patients. However, gold fillings are typically the most expensive and require multiple visits to administer.
Amalgam: Also known as “silver” fillings, amalgam fillings are relatively inexpensive and fairly resistant. They are more noticeable than other materials due to their dark color; thus, they are typically used only for teeth that are less visible.
Composite resins: Also known as “plastic”, these fillings are used to match the color of natural teeth. However, their life span is shorter (typically less than 10 years). Additionally, they are more susceptible to chipping and breaking and so are not recommended for larger fillings.
Porcelain: Also called inlays (or onlays), these fillings can also be matched to various tooth colors. They are stronger and more stain-resistant than composite resins, and generally cover a large part of the tooth. They are a more expensive option, with a price comparable to gold.
Which Filling Is Best for Me?
This question depends on a variety of factors, all of which your dentist knows best. If you suspect that you have a cavity, make an appointment today. We’ll help you determine the best available option and fix your tooth as soon as possible!