Most people experience dental decay at some point in their lives, which is why dental fillings are a very common procedure that our team specializes in. However, tooth decay has a nasty habit of going unnoticed, so there are lots of people who need dental fillings, but never get them. Fillings are an important part of preventing the spread of harmful bacteria, so make sure to visit the dentist regularly to ensure that a dental filling is not needed.
Types of Dental Fillings
Dental fillings are used to restore a tooth’s structural integrity and functionality. They replace the damaged or decayed portion of a tooth to make the tooth whole and completely usable once more. Fillings also stop the process of decay itself, which prevents your tooth from having to eventually be removed.
There are many different types of dental fillings:
- Composite Fillings
- Ceramic Fillings
- Gold Tooth Fillings
- Silver Tooth Fillings
Typically, we recommend composite fillings because they match the color of the tooth that they will be placed on. This type of filling has the appearance that no filling was ever done, restoring the original look of the tooth.
What Are Dental Fillings Made Of?
Nowadays, dental fillings are made from numerous materials. the most commonly used materials are porcelain/ceramic, silver amalgam, composite resin, and tooth-colored plastic.
Porcelain Dental Fillings
Porcelain dental fillings, also often referred to as ceramic fillings, are designed specifically match the color of the teeth they’re fused on. The main benefit of porcelain fillings is the fact that they can be created in very precise colors that look cosmetically-pleasing, unlike fillings made out of composite resin or metal-based materials (silver and gold are primary examples of metal-based filling materials.) These types of fillings are often requested and have a much more visually appealing appearance compare to other types. Along with that, they’re also considered extremely durable and capable when installed correctly (they have been known to last up to 20 years), have outstanding resistance to stains and abrasions, and are much less toxic and allergenic than metal-based fillings.
Silver Amalgam Fillings
Made out of a mixture of minerals such as tin, silver, zinc, and copper, these are the most widely-known types of fillings. They’re very cost-effective, have been known to last up to 15 years, and are typically easy to implement. The main disadvantage of silver amalgam and other metal-based fillings is, as mentioned above, is the fact that they are not visually appealing and are highly visible. Another disadvantage of these fillings is the fact that they have been known to expand and contract over time. This has resulted in teeth cracking which can allow bacteria and food particles to be trapped in the aforementioned cracks, and, thus, enable additional cavities to form.
Composite Resin Fillings
Composite resin fillings consist of plastic and resin material that is added on top of a cavity before it hardens. After placed in the necessary areas, it is hardened by using a blue curing light. These types of fillings are able to be color-matched but do not last as long as other filling alternatives.
Dental Fillings Procedure
The process of getting a dental filling is very simple and relatively painless. There are two steps in this procedure: The first is to prepare the tooth for the placement of the dental filling. This is usually done by removing the existing decay and thoroughly cleaning the affected area. The second and final step is to fill the tooth with a restorative material, usually made from a composite resin, or “tooth-colored filling.” Be sure to check out our general dentistry FAQ page to learn more about how dental filling services.
Dental Fillings FAQs
It is possible to have multiple fillings performed at once but it will require the patient to have their mouth open for an extended period of time. Depending on the size of the filling it can take anywhere from a few minutes to up to 30 minutes for a dental filling to be performed. The best schedule for your dental fillings will be recommended by your dental professional.
Each type of dental filling has their pros and cons but we typically recommend composite dental fillings for our patients as this provides them with a nearly invisible filling that will still provide them with the protection that they need.
Depending on what type of filling you have, as well as how well it is cared for, dental fillings can last up to 12 years, or they can last shorter than that. It is important to see your dentist on a routine basis so they can monitor the health of your fillings.
Dental filling procedures are performed by first removing the decayed part of the cavity. Then the dentist will fill in the tooth with the recommended filling material to the shape of the surround teeth.
The level of coverages varies depending on the patient and the provider, but it is possible that your dental insurance will cover the cost of dental fillings. We recommending speaking with your insurance company as well as our front office to get a better understanding of the procedure.
A temporary filling isn’t a common procedure but it does serve a useful purpose. They are used to protect a tooth that has been cleaned to remove the decay but hasn’t gotten a permanent filling on. This sometimes happens with deep cavities that my need two visits to get the job done.
Yes. Dental fillings have been studied and performed for many years without any scientific worries about safety. With professional dentists you can rest assured that your dental fillings will be performed in a safe and effective manner.
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