Fillings are used to treat decayed tooth where the decayed portion of the tooth is removed and filled with various materials. Fillings are also used to repair cracked or broken teeth and teeth that have been worn down from misuse such as due to faulty tooth brushing and tooth grinding
What Steps Are Involved in Filling a Tooth?
First, we might use a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth to be filled. Next, a drill is used to remove the decayed area. Then the prepared cavity is carefully examined and made sure that decay has been removed completely. Then the cavity is filled with material of choice
What Types of Filling Materials Are Available?
We currently use three types of filling materials.
- Amalgam (silver coloured)
- Glass ionomer (tooth coloured)
- Composite fillings (tooth coloured)
The location and extent of the decay, cost of filling material, determines the type of filling material best for you
What are amalgam fillings?
Amalgam fillings are made by combining mercury and silver alloy and they are silver coloured. Amalgam is long lasting and hard wearing and has been used in fillings for at least 150 years. It is economical to use and it is not unusual for an amalgam filling to last 15 to 20 years. This kind of filling is normally used on the back ‘chewing’ teeth.
Disadvantage of silver fiilings include that it offer poor aesthetics since it don’t match the colour of the teeth, Discolouration – amalgam fillings can create a grayish hue to the surrounding tooth structure.
What are glass ionomer fillings?
Glass ionomer is a type of cement when used in fillings form a chemical link with the tooth. They release fluoride, which helps to prevent further tooth decay. This type of filling is fairly weak and, because of this, is usually limited to use on baby teeth and non-biting surfaces such as around the necks of the teeth. Little preparation is needed as the filling bonds directly to the tooth.
What are composite fillings?
Composite fillings are strong, but may not be as hard wearing as amalgam fillings. Composite fillings are tooth coloured and are made from powdered glass quartz, silica or other ceramic particles added to a resin base. After the tooth is prepared, the filling is bonded onto the area and a light shone onto it to set it. The shade/colour of the composite fillings can be closely matched to the colour of existing teeth. Composites are particularly well suited for use in front teeth or visible parts of teeth.In addition to use as a filling material for decay, composite fillings can also be used to repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth.