Different Types of Dental Fillings and Who Needs Them?

Different Types of Dental Fillings and Who Needs Them?

Posted by John H. Ko, DDS on Jan 27 2021, 09:35 AM

The invention of dental fillings has been the answer to one of the most common dental problems faced by us - tooth decay and cavities. Tooth decay occurs when proper oral hygiene is not observed; irregular brushing and flossing, dry mouth, and certain foods can result in the formation of cavities. 

Getting cavities treated at the right time helps you retain your natural tooth without suffering from severe damage. The easiest and most sought-after dental treatment to restore a cavity-infected tooth is through dental fillings.

What are dental fillings?

A dental filling is an artificial substance made from dental-grade ceramic or composite resin that restores the shape and healthy function of a decayed tooth when placed in cavities. Fillings help restore the damaged tooth's strength, aesthetics, and functionality and can be made from materials like silver, gold, amalgam, resin, etc. Placing dental fillings involves the dentist removing the decayed material in the tooth, cleaning the area, and filling the cavity with the filling material.

Types of dental fillings

Dental fillings can be of different types -  some are temporary, while others are permanent. Fillings can also be made of several different materials, each one having its advantages and disadvantages. Your dentist at John H. Ko, DDS in Pleasanton, California, can help you choose the option that best suits your requirement. 

Temporary vs. Permanent fillings

A temporary filling is meant to last for a short period, while the permanent filling is very durable and lasts long. Temporary tooth fillings are placed inside cavities that require a crown or root canal. They are made of soft, often soothing materials and are used when it takes time to craft the crown in a dental lab for a patient. Temporary models can be kept in place for only six to eight weeks, and they need replacement after that time. A permanent filling is meant to seal a tooth permanently once a cavity has been identified. 

Types of fillings based on materials used

Composite Fillings

The composite filling material is also called composites or filled resins and is the main type used for dental fillings. They are durable for a good amount of time and are in high demand as they can match your teeth' color. 

Silver Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam fillings have been used to fill cavities for decades. Amalgam is made of metals like tin, copper, mercury, and silver. Silver Amalgam fillings are recommended because of their safety and durability. Also, it is not as expensive as composite fillings.

Ceramic fillings

Ceramic fillings are made out of porcelain and are long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing. The color of the filling resembles that of the tooth and has a high stain-resistance ability. Ceramic dental restorations are referred to as Inlays or Onlays.

Gold Fillings

Gold fillings are made of gold, copper, and other metals and can last for fifteen years or even more. The main advantages of gold fillings are that they are not corrosive. 

The procedure

Once your dentist examines your tooth and determines the need for filling, the filling material to be used is selected,  and the area around the affected tooth is numbed using local anesthesia. The carious area is removed using dental instruments, and the cavity is thoroughly cleaned to ensure that no bacteria or debris remains there. The filling will be placed in the cavity, shaped accordingly, and hardened using a curing light. A bite test will be conducted to ensure your natural bite hasn't altered due to the filling. The tooth is then polished to enhance its aesthetics.

If you have any questions about these procedures or think you might need a dental filling, please contact us to schedule an appointment.

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