A dental filling is the standard procedure for treating a cavity. As a cavity becomes larger, the tooth starts to lose its shape and becomes more susceptible to sensitivity and damage. A filling helps restore the shape of the tooth and prevents further damage and disease.
Other reasons you may need a filling include a fractured tooth, sensitivity, or to fill small holes in your teeth that can naturally appear as you get older.
What are the Types of Dental Fillings?
Several different types of materials can be used in fillings. Ask your dentist if you want a specific type of filling.
Gold fillings are among the most durable filling types. Many last 10 or more years. However, it's also the most expensive, doesn't match the tooth color, and may require multiple visits.
Amalgam (Silver) Fillings
Amalgam, or silver fillings, are nearly as strong as gold fillings and cost less. However, it may require shaving down healthy parts of the tooth and cause the rest of the tooth to look grey.
Composite, or natural colored fillings, match the color of your teeth. They're the most visually appealing but only last for five years.
Porcelain or Ceramic Fillings
Porcelain fillings share the same durability as gold and can be color-matched to your existing teeth. Many people find porcelain fillings to be the best investment, despite the higher cost.
Why Should I Get Dental Fillings?
- You have cavities. Dental fillings are one of the most common dental procedures done to save the teeth. Through a dental filling procedure, cavities are removed and filled with a material to strengthen the tooth and prevent cavities from infecting it again.
- Your tooth has a hole. Still, this dental procedure is not only for big holes caused by cavities. It is also a beneficial procedure for small holes in the teeth, whether caused by cavities or not. Through a dental filling procedure, the potential for food to accumulate and be trapped in the hole will be less likely, and the hole's expansion will also be prevented before things worsen.
- You fractured your tooth. If you happen to fracture your tooth for whatever reason, a dental filling procedure may be recommended by your dentist to save your tooth.
What Should I Do With Broken Fillings?
Dental fillings can fall out for various reasons, including when biting down too hard on a tooth, the filling material which cannot withstand the forces, and saliva disrupting the bonding process during the procedure. Fillings can also crack, leak, and be worn-out.
When such occur, it is best to visit your dentist as soon as possible to prevent worst-case scenarios from happening. Your dentist will recommend having it repaired or replaced, depending on your filling and tooth condition.