A dental filling is a tooth restorative material used to restore the functionality and morphology of a tampered tooth structure. The loss in tooth structure can occur from number of reasons including decay, trauma or natural shape of tooth structure that compromise hygiene.
The dental filling process is an integrated procedure that needs the attention of a qualified dental expert. The decayed and compromised tooth structure is removed and replaced with a filling material.
Studies indicate that most individuals need at least one filling in their lifetime. In as much as dental fillings help in the restoration of a tooth, dental fillings are also crucial because they help in preventing any further decay of the affected teeth. The dentist can apply various measures to help you decide whether you have tooth decay that needs filling. Some of these include observation, use of cavity-detecting dye, X-rays, and Laser fluorescence cavity-detection aids among others.
So what are the different types of dental filling options available?
Various types of Dental Fillings
Presently, dentists approve many materials for use as dental fillings. Some of these include gold, composite resin, ceramic/porcelain and amalgam.
- An amalgam is an alloy of silver, mercury, tin, copper, and to some extent, zinc. Mercury is main reason that these fillings are being discontinued. Though there are no studies that prove any health hazard as concentration is very minimal in amalgam filling but most practices have stopped placing mercury fillings these days.
Gold dental fillings
- Gold is the primary component of this filling. This dental filling contains an average of gold with various other metals like silver and palladium among others. As the name suggests, this is the most expensive option available when it comes to tooth filling. Those individuals who desire to have a corrosion free and tarnish resistant tooth filling should consider to getting gold fillings. Although this filling option is very expensive, it is desirable.
Ceramic tooth fillings
- Also called porcelain fillings, this tooth filling option is not attached to the tooth like composite or amalgam fillings. The material utilized in covering up tooth cavity is made in a laboratory. This being the case, ceramic is often crafted to fit the precise shape of the cavity. The material is 100% identical with the tooth, and therefore blends perfectly. The durability of porcelain makes this filling option last longer as it is cemented onto the tooth. However, one may need to eliminate a greater portion of the healthy tooth before he or she can fill an existing decay using porcelain.
Composite tooth fillers
- This tooth filling option is fast rising to become the best tooth filling option. Especially after medical advancements were made to enhance their appearance and durability. To fit this filling properly, we do not need to scrap off a wide portion of the healthy tooth. Additionally, composite fillings do not darken or corrode as metals do, as it bonds to the tooth. It is also ideal for smaller tooth cavities.
Why People Need Fillings
- Other than tooth decay, there are many reasons as to why a dentist may find it suitable to apply dental fillings. Decay ( cavity, caries ), fractured tooth, missing tooth structure, deep grooves and sometimes natural shape of tooth are some of the reasons.Some of these often exist because of our daily poor hygienic practices. Fractured tooth may be caused by falling or unexpectedly hitting the tooth on a hard surface. The tooth may also break because of inappropriate use. We do not recommend using your tooth to open things like soda bottles, nail biting or grinding.
Small cavities can be restored with fillings. If tooth cavity or decay is not treated then tooth might need RCT, crown or possible extraction. Cavities should be fixed before they become too big to avoid any complications in future.