Types of Dental Fillings
There are two dental filling types – permanent and temporary. Temporary ones are used when it is not time to finish treating a tooth and last for a couple of days. Permanent fillings can last anywhere from 5-20 years, depending upon the dental filling material; each one with its pros and cons. Some of the common materials include:
Amalgam – the most researched (and inexpensive) material, Amalgam, has been used by dentists for more than 150 years for tooth fillings. It is a mixture of multiple metals, making it an extremely sturdy material and therefore ideal for fillings in the back of the mouth, i.e. molars. Since Amalgam has a high composition of mercury, its use is avoided in pregnant or breastfeeding women. Amalgam shines, hence it may not be ideal for people who prefer tooth-colored fillings.
Composite fillings – also referred to as resin fillings, these tooth-colored composite fillings are a combination of quartz and glass, so they can be made to match the color of your teeth. Even though it’s a bit more expensive, it makes for fairly good material for small to mid-size reconstructions. A disadvantage is that composite fillings may not be as durable as Amalgam or other metals, especially when installed in the back of the mouth where the highest pressure is exerted.
Metals – Gold and Silver amalgam are the most common metal fillings. Both are more or less the same in terms of quality and durability. However, there’s a huge difference between the two when it comes to pricing. Gold fillings can cost around 10-15 times more than Silver amalgam.
Glass Ionomer Cement – is a mixture of acrylic and silicate glass powder, mostly used to make temporary or baby fillings. They are tooth colored, last up to 5-6 years, and can release fluoride that prevents tooth decay over the years. The cons, however, are that glass ionomer ceramic is a pricier option (almost as much as gold) and is unable to bear much pressure. So, if used in the back of the mouth, it will crack very easily.
Dental Filling – The Process
The dental filling procedure is pretty straightforward which you can get over within a couple of appointments. It is one of the most common procedures performed at our clinic, so you don’t have to worry about anything going wrong. Before we start, our dentists will examine your teeth with a dental x-ray, and walk you through the process. Feel free to ask questions and discuss anything that concerns you at this stage.
The dentist will begin by giving local anesthesia to numb the pain around the tooth and gums. Then, they will drill through the tooth until it passes through the enamel (first layer). Finally, they can extract the decay and make space for the filling. A liner will be applied to protect the tooth pulp. Once filled and hardened, the dentist will finish off by polishing and smoothing edges with burs.
What To Expect After Getting Dental Fillings?
It is common to experience some discomfort after getting a tooth filling. Your teeth might feel sensitive when you have something too cold or hot. However, this should only last for a few days. If it continues, immediately book an appointment with your dentist. Not to mention, taking care of your oral health is essential. Floss, brush, and use a mouthwash daily; rest assured, your dental fillings will last longer than they were supposed to.