Having a tooth filled is the most common of all dental restorations. In fact, most adults have had at least one filling. We use filling material to fill the space created in a tooth from decay, to repair chips, and to correct the tooth’s shape or structure following breakage. If you have a tooth that has been damaged, from decay or fracture, our team at North Hills Dental can repair your enamel with the use of filling material.
Tooth damage can range from small to extreme, small to medium levels of damage can be repaired with filler. In general, when having a tooth restored with filling material, there are two options:
Amalgam is the traditional material of choice. The benefit of amalgam is its strength and high durability. Amalgam has a long history of being able to withstand a high chewing pressure. The downside of amalgam is the metal it contains. Amalgam is a blend of metals including liquid mercury, copper, silver, tin and other metals. The mercury fits within safe levels as stated by the American Dental Association, but still makes many patients nervous. In addition to concerns of the metals used, amalgam is also dark silver in color, meaning it doesn’t hide as easily in your mouth.
Composite material has been used for decades, but the material used today is stronger and more durable than materials used in the past, and many patients are unaware of these advancements. Composite filler is created using a non-metal ceramic quartz material that is blended with a resin. Patients love that composite can be shaded to match their teeth in color. Additionally, composite can be molded and shaped to fit the affected area. This allows us to remove less of the natural tooth for placement. Increasingly, composite has become the material of choice for most filling treatments.
Placement of Fillings
The first step completed before a filling can be placed is to ensure that the tooth is clean and free of decay causing bacteria. This includes removing any decay, or diseased portions of the tooth. If we are placing an amalgam filling, we will need to reshape the tooth to accept the material. If we are placing composite filling, less reshaping of the tooth is required.
After the tooth is cleaned and prepared, we can then place the filling material. Filling the cavity or damaged portion of the tooth takes a bit of artistic skill, we need to consider the shape of the tooth, the dentition of the tooth and neighboring teeth. Throughout the placement, we will check the patient’s bite, ensuring that your teeth continue to fit together naturally.
With your tooth now filled, we can then harden the filler with blue laser light. This will cure the tooth and make it ready for regular use. Dental fillings are durable, they should last many years with proper care and treatment. We will check your fillings during your regular dental exams to ensure they are intact. Replacement may be required at some point, that is normal.
Replacing Old Fillings
Fillings can be replaced. Some patients find that they would like to improve the look of their smile, they may want to swap silver fillings for composite, or freshen up old composite. This can be done easily in an office appointment.
Replacing dental fillings can be an easy way to freshen your look and brighten your smile other than teeth whitening.
Composite bonding is a simple technique that helps us improve the look of your teeth. In addition to repairing cavities, composite material can be used to make simple repairs on your teeth. We can fill chips, cover fractures and even close gaps. The composite filler is shaded to match your teeth, and then polished for a beautiful look.