If you are suffering from a cavity, odds are you will need a filling. Here, our Winnipeg dentists share some of the reasons why you may need a filling as well as some of the types of fillings your dentist might have available.
What are dental fillings?
Dental fillings can be used to help repair the function, structure, and appearance of a decayed or damaged tooth. Fillings also can help alleviate any pain you may be feeling in your tooth.
Why do dentists use dental fillings?
Your dentist can place a dental filling to help correct a tooth that has cracks, fractures, or even decay. They help your tooth function properly again and can sometimes be used for cosmetic improvements.
How can I tell if I need a filling?
While you should schedule an appointment with your dentist who will be able to inform you if you need a filling, we have listed some of the signs that could tell you if you have a cavity and require a filling. If you are experiencing any of the signs below, make an appointment with your dentist:
- You feel a sharp or throbbing pain in your tooth.
- When you examine your teeth, you see a hole or dark spot.
- Your tooth is broken or chipped.
- Your tooth feels rough to the touch.
- Food keeps getting stuck between certain teeth.
- An existing tooth filling has broken or cracked.
- You've lost a tooth filling and need a replacement.
What can dental fillings be made of?
Dental fillings can be made from various materials, such as amalgam, composite, porcelain, and gold. While each of these materials is safe and long-lasting, they also each have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to repairing a cavity or decay. Here, our dentists provide advice on how to make the right dental choice for you.
Porcelain Fillings for Strength & Appearance
These can also be called onlays or inlays, porcelain fillings are hard, brittle, and made in combination with metal. They are constructed in a dental lab and sent back to your dentist to apply, these strong, tooth-coloured dental restorations are most often used on molars because they last longer and are more durable than a regular dental filling.
You’ll typically have to attend two dental appointments to have a porcelain filling placed in your mouth.
Composite Fillings for a Natural Look & Feel
Because they are very similar in colour to natural teeth, composite fillings tend to blend in well with the surrounding teeth.
They look and feel natural, and are popular with patients who are concerned with how amalgam (grey) fillings may appear on teeth that are visible when they smile.
Dentists like composites because they are easy to sculpt and shape onto a tooth, and bond naturally to a tooth. This means your dentist won’t need to remove as much existing enamel when preparing the tooth.
Your dentist will remove tooth decay and add bonding material to the inside of the hole so the filling can be placed. Composite resin is then layered in the hole.
A curing light is used to harden each layer. When the last layer of resin has hardened, the filling will be carefully shaped to match your natural teeth.
Gold Fillings for Durability
Cast gold fillings are made using a model of your tooth. Created from a mix of gold combined with other materials such as copper and silver, a cast gold filling is created in a dental lab and sent back to your dentist.
It will then be cemented in place inside your mouth. Though this type of filling is considered the most durable (typically lasting 20 years or more) it is also the most costly. You'll also require at least two dental appointments to have it placed.