A filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a material you and your dentist decide on.
There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Types of Fillings:
The most traditional, proven method for treating a cavity is by using an amalgam (silver-mercury based) filling. Although there have been some health concerns due to toxicity of mercury there has been no conclusive evidence that amalgams pose any threat when used in dentistry. Today they continue to be popular for durability and they are the best choice for larger cavities that must endure the stresses of heavy chewing.
One option to treat a cavity is a composite resin filling. A composite filling is a tooth-colored hard, dense, plastic and glass mixture used to restore teeth. This method is preferred by many because the color of the filling can be matched to the natural shade of tooth, making them less visible. They provide significant strength to the restoration. At one time it was though they were best used on small to mid sized cavities that endure moderate chewing pressure. But today there are new composite materials that provide strong reliable restorative qualities even on molars. Also there is less drilling required so more of the natural tooth can be preserved.
Composites are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.
They are very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile.
Reasons for composite fillings:
Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.
It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.
You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.