Dental Fillings: Everything You Need to Know

Dental Fillings: Everything You Need to Know

Jul 01, 2021

Tooth decay is a prevalent dental issue that affects millions of American children and adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 57 percent of adolescents aged between 12 and 19 have had at least one cavity on a permanent tooth.

Ninety percent of adults aged 20 and older have had at least one cavity, while over half of children aged between 6 and 8 have experienced tooth decay. The prevalence of tooth decay points to a dire need for timely prevention, restoration, and consistent dental care.

If you have a tooth cavity, the dentist may recommend dental fillings treatment to restore the tooth’s function and appearance. A tooth filling is a simple restoration that fills the decayed parts of the tooth, thus reinstating its structure and aesthetics.

Tooth Fillings Treatment Process

Getting teeth fillings is a straightforward process. Here’s what to expect when it’s your turn in the dentist’s chair:

  • The dentist gently administers local anesthesia to numb the tooth and surrounding areas.
  • Using a dental drill or laser, the dentist carefully removes the decayed portions of the tooth.
  • Next, your dentist cleans and disinfects the tooth to eliminate plaque, debris, and harmful microbes.
  • The dentist applies filling material to the tooth and then shapes it as required.

The treatment process described above relates to direct fillings. Indirect fillings, on the other hand, require fabrication in a dental lab. Indirect fillings are also known as inlays and onlays.

Sharon Dental Group offers different fillings, including silver amalgam fillings, gold fillings, glass ionomer fillings, ceramic fillings, and composite resin fillings.

Besides tooth decay, teeth fillings can also restore chipped, cracked, and worn teeth.

Silver Amalgam Fillings

For many years, patients seeking dental fillings treatment were limited to silver amalgam fillings, especially since gold fillings were out of reach for most individuals. Silver amalgam fillings consist of silver, zinc, mercury, copper, and tin.

They’re relatively cheaper when compared with composite resin and gold fillings. Silver fillings can withstand strong chewing forces and have a lifespan of up to 15 years.

On the downside, amalgam fillings don’t score well on the aesthetics front. They sometimes cause tooth discoloration and can weaken teeth, especially due to their sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, which causes them to expand and contract, leading to tooth fractures. What’s more, silver fillings require extensive removal of tooth structure.

Gold Fillings

Cast gold or gold alloy fillings are incredibly durable and don’t corrode. While gold doesn’t blend in with your natural smile color, some individuals prefer the aesthetics offered by gold fillings.

Cost is a crucial drawback of gold fillings, as the price of gold fillings can be ten times as much as that of silver amalgam fillings.

Composite Resin or Tooth-Colored Fillings

Composite fillings are made of composite resin material, a tooth-colored material that blends in well with the smile’s natural color. Composite fillings offer numerous advantages, including:

  • The color of these fillings can be matched to your smile’s natural color.
  • Composite resin fillings are directly bonded to the tooth, which strengthens the tooth.
  • Composite resin fillings are versatile. They can repair decayed teeth, as well as chipped, fractured, and worn teeth.
  • Unlike silver amalgam fillings, composite resin fillings don’t require extensive enamel removal.

On the downside, composite fillings wear out faster than silver fillings. They’re also costlier than silver amalgam fillings and may require additional dental visits, especially if used for inlays and onlays.

Ceramic Fillings

Ceramic or porcelain fillings are also tooth-colored and impressively stain-resistant. However, ceramic fillings aren’t ideal for patients who grind their teeth and can cost nearly as much as gold fillings.

Glass Ionomer Fillings

Glass ionomer fillings are mainly used for fillings below the gum line. They consist of acrylic and glass and release fluoride, strengthening tooth enamel and preventing further cavities. Glass ionomer fillings wear faster than composite resin fillings. Sometimes, dentists line cavities with glass ionomer fillings and then fill the rest of the tooth with a different material. This treatment approach leverages the benefits of glass ionomer fillings without compromising the lifespan of the restoration.

Do You Have Cavities?

When caught in good time, cavities respond well to simple restorative treatments. Reach out to Sharon Dental Group to enjoy personalized dental care for you and your whole family.

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