A dental filling can be used to repair a broken, cracked, or decayed tooth. Fillings can also repair teeth that have been worn down from misuse. No one loves visiting the dentist, but cavity fillings are a common procedure that can help prolong the life of your teeth. Read on to learn more about how fillings are done and the various materials dentists use.
Dental filling materials
To treat a cavity, the dentist first drills out all the decayed material and cleans the cavity. The dentist will then fill the hole in the tooth with a filling material. Once the procedure is complete, the tooth can function normally for many years. If not treated, tooth decay will continue to erode the tooth, which will lead to cavity pain. Treating a cavity early is often recommended to avoid many complications.
There are many different types of dental filling materials that dentists use to fill teeth. Some are direct fillings, meaning the fillings are placed directly in a cavity whereas others are indirect. These fillings are made in a laboratory and require two dental visits before being placed. Some common filling materials include porcelain, gold, or tooth-colored materials called composite resin fillings. Other options include silver amalgam or glass ionomer.
Amalgam cavity fillings are made up of a mixture of metals. These fillings usually contain about 50% mercury, along with silver, copper, tin, or zinc. This is the cheapest tooth filling material available. Amalgam fillings are also very strong and long-lasting. One obvious downside of amalgam fillings is the esthetics. These fillings are unsightly and therefore are not ideal for front teeth.
Composite tooth fillings are usually made from a mixture of powdered glass and acrylic resin. The filling can be shaded to match the color of existing teeth, which makes them much less visible. But this dental filling material is not as durable as amalgam. It is usually not the right option for deep fillings and those on biting surfaces.
Gold or porcelain
Gold dental fillings are very strong and durable. However, their distinctive look means they are not everyone’s ideal choice. Although it is one of the most long-lasting options available, gold fillings are expensive. These fillings are often indirect fillings, which means that a patient will have to spend more time in a dentist’s chair to get one.
Porcelain fillings are a popular option because of their natural look. They are also a form of indirect filling. These fillings require more than one visit to the dental office and tend to be pricey. They are also much more fragile than other filling materials like gold.
Choosing the right type of dental filling
Even though you have many options when arranging a filling, no dental filling is objectively better than another. Several factors have to be considered before choosing the most appropriate option. These include the location and extent of the decay, the patient’s preference, and the cost of the dental filling material. Your dentist can help you determine the right type of filling for your teeth.
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