Different Types of Fillings

June 2018

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Different Types of Fillings

Dental fillings are used to restore the structure and shape of a tooth which has been affected by bacteria and other pathogens. The bacteria can cause gum disease or dental caries or a combination of both. The decay of the teeth usually starts at the grooves and bends of the teeth, as these tend to trap food particles which in turn become a breeding ground for bacteria. Dental fillings are used in early stages of teeth decay after cleaning off and setting the affected surface of the teeth using a dental drill. Different types of filings are available, and we take a closer look at each of them.

Silver Amalgam Fillings

The most commonly used type of dental fillings, silver amalgam fillings are composed of a variety of metals, though, as the name implies, contains a majority of silver and mercury. It is strong yet durable and inexpensive, which makes it a popular choice. A typical filling lasts for 15 years and is easier for the dentist to work on to, and the risks of contamination of the filling with saliva or blood is less. But silver amalgam fillings also have several disadvantages, mostly in terms of aesthetics, as they do not match the color of the tooth, and due to the fact that they are metals, they expand and contract over time. This can lead to the tooth developing cracks and food items getting stuck in these cracks causing more harm and damage. Also the use of mercury raises several concerns, though studies have shown no effect of silver amalgam fillings on the body.

Composite Fillings

As the name implies, composite fillings are made using a combination of plastics and resins and other materials. The material is placed on the cavity when it is soft and is hardened with a special blue light. Composite fillings can be matched to the specific teeth color which makes it a popular choice among patients seeking to have their teeth repaired. But, they can be expensive and do not last as long, with their normal lifespan being around 5 years.

Glass Ionomer Fillings

Glass Ionomer fillings are for those whose teeth are changing rapidly. They are an excellent choice for children who need their teeth repaired and release fluoride which makes the teeth even stronger as well as protect it from further harm and decay. But they are very weak and last less than 5 years and wear out at a rapid rate. Also they do not match the color of the teeth.

Ceramic Fillings

Prepared out of porcelain, ceramic fillings are the most aesthetically pleasing, as well as strong. While expensive, they are most resistant to staining and can closely match the structure and the color of the existing tooth well enough. The only big disadvantage, as will all porcelain products, is the fact that they are brittle and proper care must be taken to ensure that they do not break. Generally for ceramic fillings a larger area is created in the tooth to account for its brittleness.

Gold Fillings

Perhaps the most expensive type of filling, gold fillings are uncommon and are not performed by the majority of dentists. Also, due to the soft nature of gold, it takes more than a single visit to ensure the best fit of gold fillings. But once the process is completed, it lasts for decades, as gold is sturdy and does not corrode.

Aten and Garofalo Dentistry specialize in dental fillings as well as other dental procedures, with the dental experience going back to decades. They are well known for their efficient and quick work and they can help you pick out the best dental filling for your damaged teeth for brighter, healthier smiles.

How Cavities Can Be Treated By Your Dentist

The bacteria present in your mouth produces acids which continuously attacks the surface of your teeth and this is boosted when you start eating processed or sugary foods. These acids form holes on the surface of the teeth called cavities. When cavities are formed, the tooth is badly affected and starts giving pain and discomfort. We discuss about how cavities can be treated by your dentist.

A dentist can use a plethora of treatment methods to start the treatment process for cavities. The first process is to fill the cavity with a substance called a filling, which when filled in the cavity hole prevents bacteria from entering the tooth and causing more damage. Fillings would prevent and protect the inside part of the tooth. The dentist starts the filling process by first numbing the region where the filling is to be done. Then he or she will use a specialized laser or drill or an abrasion instrument to remove the decayed part of the tooth for inspection of the cavity. Then the dentist will remove the complete part of the tooth which has been decayed and will clean up the cavity to create space for the filling. After the filling process is done, the dentist will polish and match the original tooth shape in order to avoid conflict with the open and shut patterns of the mouth. Fillings are less expensive than other dental methods. In some cases, patients can even have colored fillings which match the natural color of their tooth.

If a tooth has decayed badly due to cavities, it can disintegrate. In this case, repair is done using a crown, which is the restoration of the tooth from the gum line. The crown is sometimes added after a root canal procedure to ensure that the teeth does not break. Generally, a crown is used to hold fragile tooth together in order to better the chances of the patient being able to retain his or her original tooth. The crown can also be used to cover large filings and provide extra support to the tooth. Crowns look like normal tooth and are used in combination with a dental bridge or dental implant.

In some cases, the cavities are so severe that even the pulp of the tooth is not spared from damage. This leads to severe pain and the dentist removes the infected pulp through a process called root canal. The remaining part of the pulp then heals and the tooth is covered with a crown for protection. The tooth nerve is removed during the process of root canal as it becomes badly infested with bacteria and causes severe pain as well as foul breath. It can also lead to swollen neck glands.

Post treatment of cavities, good oral care is needed to ensure that there is not a rerun of cavities. Brushing your teeth twice daily as well as eating healthy food can go a long way in promoting oral health. The Aten and Garofalo Dentistry specialize in all methods of cavity removal and treatment and they have a strong 15-year reputation.