If you’ve recently discovered a hole in your tooth, or are experiencing tooth ache and pain, you might need to get a filling from your dentist. This common dental procedure will restore your tooth from its damaged or decayed state and remove any infection and related pain.
If you haven’t had a filling before, or it’s been a while since you’ve had to get one, it can be useful to know what to expect before you get into the dentist’s chair.
There have been quite a lot of advancements in the world of fillings, with new dental techniques and materials replacing older dentistry procedures. Today’s fillings are very different from the old style silver and amalgam fillings of past years.
Let’s take a look at today’s fillings, bringing you up to speed on what to expect from your dental visit.
What are Fillings for Your Teeth?
Fillings are used by dentists to restore teeth that have been damaged by decay, effectively ‘filling’ the cavity or hole that has formed in the tooth. The filling builds the tooth back up to its original shape, allowing it to function and align with your other teeth as before.
By filling the hole your dentist is also ensuring it can’t grow any bigger, or cause further damage to your tooth’s nerve. This is why it’s so important to make an appointment with a professional dentist as soon as possible; this will reduce the risk of having more serious dental procedures, such a root canal treatments, further down the track.
New Materials for Modern Fillings
In previous years, fillings were made from either gold metal alloy or ‘amalgam’ – which is a combination of silver, tin, copper and mercury. Mercury was used to bind the materials together and usually formed about half of the composition of the total filling.
These days, dentists have moved away from using chemicals such as mercury and silver, favouring more natural ‘tooth-coloured’ materials that are considered safer for our bodies while still offering a strong and durable result.
Today’s fillings are generally made from either porcelain or composite resin, both of which produce incredibly natural looking dental fillings.
Composite Resin Fillings
Composite resin is the most popular and widely used filling, and is made form a plastic material mixed with small glass particles, resulting in a very natural ‘tooth-coloured’ finish.
Before your tooth is filled, the decay in the tooth is removed and the affected area is cleaned. Filling material is then added to restore the cavity to the original form of the tooth. The composite resin is placed into the hole in your tooth, where it hardens directly.
Porcelain fillings, sometimes called inlays or onlays, are a more expensive products as they are made-to-order in a laboratory and then cemented to the tooth. They are very strong and require multiple visits, unlike composite resin fillings which are completed in a single appointment.
If you’ve still got gold or silver fillings in your mouth you might like to talk to your dentist about replacing them with newer materials for a more aesthetically pleasing smile. Adelaide’s City Central Dental used the most up-to-date materials of composite resin and porcelain, for the best filling results.