What are Dental Fillings and when do you need them?

Try as you might to keep up with excellent dental hygiene…brushing, flossing, less sugar…you might still find yourself with a cavity that needs to be treated. Sometimes they just can’t be avoided. That is when we step in to help. We will be happy to help with your dental concerns.

What happens when you do have a decayed tooth? To treat a cavity, the area around the tooth is numbed and then the decayed part of the tooth is removed with a drill or laser. Once the decay has been completely removed, the tooth is cleaned and prepared to receive the filling. After the filling has been placed, it is polished and the treatment is complete.

What type of fillings are available?

There are several types of filling materials available. Five are listed here:

  • Cast Gold – Gold fillings are the most durable and last 10 to 15 years and even longer. They are more expensive filling than other materials and require a minimum of two visits to place. Since they are colored, as are the silver amalgam fillings, some people prefer them when compared to silver.
  • Silver Amalgam (a combination of mercury, silver, tin, zinc, and copper) – Amalgam fillings last 10 to 15 years and usually last longer than composite material fillings. They are also less expensive than composite fillings. The amalgam acts like putty and is shaped until it fits properly in the space where the cavity was removed. They can create a grayish color to the tooth and can also expand and contract more than other filling materials, which can lead to a higher possibility of cracks and fractures in the tooth.
  • Composite Resin – Composite fillings are preferred by many because they are more cosmetically pleasing due to their tooth-colored quality. They chemically bond to the natural tooth through the use of a bright blue “curing” light that changes the material’s chemical composition. They are not as durable as metal fillings, lasting up to 5 years compared with 10-15 years for amalgam. This is because, unlike the metal fillings, the composite fillings break down faster.
  • Ceramics – Ceramic fillings are most often made of porcelain and are the most expensive due to their cosmetically pleasing and long-lasting qualities. They generally last more than 15 years and can be as expensive as gold fillings.
  • Glass Ionomer – This is made of acrylic and a specific type of glass material. Fillings usually last less than five years and are commonly used for children who are still losing teeth and for cavities at the gum line. This material produces fluoride around the cavity, which helps to prevent further decay in the tooth. They are comparable in cost with composite resin fillings.

Need a filling in Knoxville, TN or have more questions? Don’t hesitate to give us a call. We would be more than happy to schedule an appointment, answer your questions, and fix your teeth. Your dental health is our top priority!