What is a Filling?
Dental FIllings is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. When a dentist gives you a filling, he or she first removes the decayed tooth material, cleans the affected area, and then fills the cleaned out cavity with a filling material.
By closing off spaces where bacteria can enter, a filling also helps prevent further decay. Materials used for fillings include gold, porcelain, a composite resin (tooth-colored fillings), and an amalgam (an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin and sometimes zinc).
Fillings are more often required in the molar (back) teeth where decay rates are higher. The need for fillings due to tooth decay can be eliminated by correctly cleaning your teeth and maintaining a healthy diet. Regular dental health check-ups will make sure any problems are identified and treated early.
The types of filling material used by your dentist may include:
- tooth-coloured fillings
- dental amalgam (silver coloured)
Other forms of tooth restoration, such as gold or ceramic crowns, are an expensive alternative to amalgam and tooth-coloured filling materials.
Tooth-coloured (white) fillings have been used in front teeth for cosmetic reasons for many years. Recent improvements in filling materials for back teeth mean these are now more affordable and widely used as an alternative to dental amalgam.
Silver fillings (dental amalgam)
Dental amalgam (‘silver filling’) is an inexpensive and highly durable material commonly used for filling teeth. Modern dental amalgam is a metal alloy that is generally made up of mercury, silver and tin, with small amounts of copper and zinc.
What Happens When You get a Filling?
If your dentist decides to fill a cavity, he or she will first remove the decay and clean the affected area. The cleaned-out cavity will then be filled with any of the variety of materials described above.
How Do I Know if I Need a Filling?
Only your dentist can detect whether you have a cavity that needs to be filled. During a checkup, your dentist will use a small mirror to examine the surfaces of each tooth.
Anything that looks abnormal will then be closely checked with special instruments. Your dentist may also X-ray your entire mouth or a section of it. The type of treatment your dentist chooses will depend on the extent of damage caused by decay.
More Questions About It?
Our specialists at Waverley Oaks Dental are prepared to answer all your addition questions about Fillings. Please give us a call at 781.647.0022 or send us an /contact/E-mail and someone will be glad to help you out.