Dental fillings are a method to restore decayed teeth to their normal function and shape. This is done when there is the presence decay either on a new surface of your tooth or leaks under an existing filling. All filling materials expand and contract with temperature changes that your teeth are exposed to (such as ice water and hot tea) during normal use at a different rate than your natural tooth does. This expansion and contraction can over time cause a microscopic gap to open between the tooth and the filling. This will allow the plaque bacteria in your mouth to get into that gap and infect it with tooth decay. So over time, fillings need replacement and each filling will be somewhat larger than the last. This is why we promote natural, healthy teeth and prevention of tooth decay with excellent brushing, flossing and healthy diets from an early age.
Dental decay is caused by bacteria, and they are essentially infections in the tooth. Once a tooth has begun the decay process and started to break down, the infection will continue to grow and break down tooth structure until the infected portion is removed and replaced by a dental filling. There are several types of dental fillings and your dentist will recommend the best choice of material depending on the size, location, and depth of the tooth preparation and the properties of the material. We will consult with you chair-side prior to placement of the material in your mouth.
The composite fillings are made up of finely ground particles and acrylic resin which produces the most natural appearance for the restoration. This type of filling has resistance to fracture and durability in small to medium-sized restorations which can withstand the chewing pressure. The only disadvantage is that they are not long lasting as amalgam filling in some circumstances because dryness during placement is essential to a good bond and a good bond is essential to a long lasting composite resin filling.
Amalgam fillings are a combination of tin, mercury, silver, and copper in order to create a stable and strong filling material. It is highly resistant to wear, durable, and inexpensive when compared with other materials. Due to their dark color, amalgam fillings are usually only recommended for the restoration of the teeth in situations where composite restorations are not ideal.
Gold Inlays and Onlays:
Gold inlays are custom made in the dental lab according to the impressions taken by the dentist and then they are cemented into place. They can last more than 20 years as they work well with the gum tissues. Even though gold is the most expensive option out of all other materials, it is considered as the most durable material.
The porcelain inlays are somewhat similar to the gold inlays as they are custom made in the dental lab and also costs the same. They are popular as they have the ability to match to the color of the natural teeth and can also resist stain.
Glass Ionomer fillings:
They are tooth colored and will easily bond with the tooth tissue. The function of this type of filling is to release a fluoride over time in order to help prevent decay around and under the filling. The glass ionomer fillings look natural as they are easily made to suit your natural tooth color. However, they are not recommended for load bearing teeth and are normally placed on areas of root decay where the fluoride release is optimal.
If you ever have any questions, just ask! We love to talk teeth!