Filling is a material used to fill the hole in the teeth caused due to caries removal. Traditional dental restoratives, or fillings, are most often made of silver amalgam. The strength and durability of this traditional dental material makes it useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand extreme forces that result from chewing, often in the back of the mouth.
Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, are usually used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important, but they can also be used on the back teeth depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay.
There are two different kinds of fillings: direct and indirect. Direct fillings are fillings placed into a prepared cavity in a single visit. They include silver amalgam, glass ionomers, resin ionomers, and composite (resin) fillings. Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. They include inlays, onlays, and veneers. They are used when a tooth has too much damage to support a filling but not enough to necessitate a crown.
FAQ’sQUESTIONS & ANSWERS
The most common types of filling are gold, porcelain, silver amalgam, plastic, and composite resin.
Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals that includes mercury, silver, tin, and copper. Because it is made with mercury, some people worry about its effects on their health and the environment. When the type of mercury used in dental amalgam is mixed with other metals, it forms a hard material that doesn’t easily break down.
After reviewing many scientific studies, the US Food and Drug Administration found that dental amalgam fillings are safe for adults and children 6 years and older.
Although some people express concern about mercury vapor released from dental amalgam when they chew, the amount released is well below the limits set by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization.As with any material used in the body, some people may be at risk of experiencing an allergic reaction. Less than 1% of the people who get amalgam fillings, though, might have an allergic reaction.
Dental amalgam contributes less than 1% of the mercury in the waste stream. To lower that number, we use amalgam separators that reduces the amount of amalgam leaving the dental office and entering the public sewage system.
Dental amalgam is not the only filling material available, but it has certain advantages over other materials, like tooth-colored fillings, for example.
Dental amalgam is easier to place than tooth-colored fillings. Tooth-colored fillings require the area the dentist is working in to be perfectly dry. This can be challenging for children and people with special needs, who may have trouble sitting still in the dental chair.
Dental amalgam lasts longer than tooth-colored fillings. A review of several studies found that, compared with dental amalgam fillings, tooth-colored fillings may be nearly twice as likely to fail. Dental amalgam is also stronger than tooth-colored fillings. This strength makes dental amalgam fillings a good choice for restoring the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.
Typically, dental amalgam fillings cost less than tooth-colored fillings [source ada.org]
Today, more patients ask their dentists about white fillings because they want their teeth to look natural when they laugh, talk and smile. White fillings, also called composite fillings, are made from tooth-colored materials that restore the natural appearance of a decayed or previously filled tooth. Because they blend well with tooth enamel and don’t look like fillings, your dentist may recommend them if the teeth to be restored are near the front of your mouth.
A composite filling usually requires only one visit, during which the tooth is prepared and restored. An advantage of composite fillings, as compared with other dental restorations, is that they require less of the healthy part of a tooth to be removed to hold the filling in place. This is due to composite materials’ ability to bond to teeth adhesively.
The procedure for a composite filling may take a little longer than those for other types of fillings, because after the decay is removed, the tooth must be kept totally isolated from saliva. The dentist carefully applies an adhesive followed by several thin layers of the tooth-colored composite. Once the filling is in place, it is chemically hardened, or cured, for less than a minute with a special light.
Composites are preferable for obvious cosmetic reasons, but if the decayed area is large or is subject to heavy chewing pressure, your dentist may recommend another type of material or restoration. Some people may experience some sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures in the newly filled tooth for a few days or as long as a week. If the sensitivity continues beyond that time, contact your dentist.
Other types of white fillings include composite inlays and porcelain inlays and onlays. Inlays and onlays are used to restore teeth that are badly damaged by decay or wear. They may be applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth when esthetics are of concern.
Some white fillings may be more expensive than other dental materials, but most patients find these natural-looking restorations well worth the additional cost. White fillings, like other dental materials, may require periodic replacement. If the edge of the filling eventually pulls away from the tooth, bacteria can get between the filling and the enamel and eventually may cause decay. Tooth decay over time may develop elsewhere on the tooth. Regular dental checkups are important because they allow the dentist to detect a problem in the early stage.
There are two main steps involved in creating a dental filling.
- The dentist drills through the enamel to remove all dead and decaying material. It is taken away so that the replacement filling can be inserted and secured.
- The dentist then inserts the filling on top followed by cleaning and polishing the entire tooth. For tooth coloured fillings, a special tool is used to harden the different layers.