Dental caries, commonly known as “tooth decay” or “cavities,” is one of the most common diseases to date. This happens when the bacteria in your mouth produce acid and break down your teeth’s enamel and dentin, which causes the decay and openings on your teeth.
To stop and prevent the further spread of decay, a dental filling is applied to your teeth.
Fillings are used to repair the damaged tooth by removing the decayed area and replacing it with filling materials, such as tooth-colored fillings or dental amalgam. These materials restore the decayed portion of your tooth and prevent it from being broken down further.
But, before putting the restorative material onto your tooth, your dentist will perform a few steps first to prepare your tooth in receiving the dental filling.
First, your dentist will drill your tooth to remove its decayed parts. That way, you can ensure that the spread of the bacteria is arrested; thus, preventing the decay from worsening. Then, this will be followed by the finishing of the cavity walls to make sure that the tooth’s internal structure is in good form to receive the filling.
After the drilling, your dentist will also debride your tooth’s cavity to eliminate the remaining bacteria present and to clean off the debris that came from the drilling part.
For teeth with extensive tooth decay, your dentist may also apply additional layers of protective cement, called liners and bases, to protect the nerve within your tooth.
Once done, your dentist will proceed to restore your tooth with the appropriate dental filling. The filling “seals” your tooth to restore its original function and prevent the entrance of bacteria into its internal structure.
There are new filling materials that emerge in the market today, and some of them even have fluoride-releasing capacities that strengthen the teeth against decay. Some are also made to be more aesthetic, while others are mainly designed to be durable.
The Different Types of Dental Fillings
Unlike amalgam, dental composites are tooth-colored restorative materials. These are less durable than amalgam, but they’re perfect for patients who want to have aesthetic restorations for their teeth.
The drawback of using composites is that it’s much more technique-sensitive than amalgams. So, patient cooperation and proper isolation techniques are a must when this type of filling is used.
Failure to do so will cause the filling to be dislodged over time. Or, it can cause microleakages that can only form recurrent caries, a type of tooth decay formed beside an already existing dental filling.
Composites are best used for your front teeth, specifically your incisors and canines.
Glass ionomer cement or GIC is consists of acrylic and glass particles. It’s popular for having fluoride uptake and releasing capabilities that help in arresting tooth decay progression.
What’s more is that unlike other dental fillings that are mechanically bonded to the teeth, GIC can chemically adhere to your tooth.
However, the main disadvantage of using GIC is that these are weaker and less durable compared with other dental filling materials. Plus, despite being a tooth-colored restorative material, it’s not as aesthetic as a composite filling.
GICs are best used in filling the areas that are located near your gum line and teeth that require less drilling. It’s also best used for children as they are less technique-sensitive than other materials.
Porcelain inlays and onlays work the same way as gold fillings. They are custom-made, and they require additional dental visits when you choose them as your dental fillings.
However, the best advantage that you can get from porcelain is they have the same look as that of a natural tooth. Plus, they’re resistant to staining and can last for several years, as well.
But, the disadvantage of using porcelain is that it can cause tooth wear on opposing natural teeth. Plus, their prices are hefty as well, ranging from $650 to $990 per inlay or onlay.
Porcelain fillings are best for patients who want to have aesthetic restorations.
Dental amalgam, or simply known as “amalgam,” is the most traditional dental filling used to restore a tooth. This type of filling is made from metals, such as mercury and zinc, making it one of the most durable dental filling materials used.
However, despite its promising durability, the use of amalgam has been controversial through the years because of its mercury content.
Mercury is known for causing toxicity that can potentially cause death. However, several studies show that one’s exposure to mercury from amalgam fillings is very minimal. This means that it’s unlikely for one to be poisoned from having amalgam restorations.
Aside from the poisoning concerns, another downside of using dental amalgam is that they are not as aesthetics as tooth-coloured restorations. They are silver in colour, making them very visible, especially when placed in the aesthetic zone of your mouth.
Dental amalgams are best for your back teeth, specifically your molars and premolars.
Gold fillings are also one of the oldest yet strongest types of restorative materials used to date. They can last for years, do not corrode, and can resist strong chewing forces as compared with other materials.
Gold fillings are generally used as inlays and onlays, indirect restorations that are to be cemented to the tooth upon fabrication. Inlays are used for smaller tooth decay lesions, while onlays are for extensive ones.
The most significant drawback of using gold as a restorative material is that it’s expensive. A composite dental filling in Canberra can cost around $150 to $350, while gold fillings can go as high as approximately $5,000.
Plus, since gold fillings are generally fabricated in the dental laboratory, it’s less likely that you’ll have your tooth filled on the same day. And, just like amalgam, its distinct color makes them less aesthetic for most patients.
Because of its durability and appearance, gold fillings are also best for your back teeth.
What If The Decay Is Too Big?
Worry not! Your teeth can still be saved through different measures for as long as the decay does not require your teeth to be extracted.
Visit Identity Dentistry for a Dental Filling in Canberra
Book for a dental filling session and visit Identity Dentistry in Canberra today. Let our dentists restore your teeth and bring them back to their normal functions without compromising your aesthetics.