Fillings are used to fill teeth that have holes as a result of cavities, dental trauma, or enamel erosion. Dental fillings are an effective restorative treatment for early-stage tooth decay.
When caught early enough, we can drill away the active tooth decay and replace the missing tooth structure with a filling material that restores the health and structure of the tooth to restore your ability to chew and smile.
Amalgam fillings are at lower risk of breakage compared to composite fillings.
Dr. Williams will examine your teeth by performing an oral exam and taking digital x-rays. This will show us if the tooth can be repaired with a simple filling or will require more extensive restorative work.
Before using a dental drill or any other dental tools, we will numb your mouth with local anesthesia and you will also have the option to undergo dental sedation if you suffer from dental anxiety.
Once your mouth is numb, we will use a dental drill to remove any active decay from the tooth.
A tooth-colored composite filling or silver amalgam filling will be used to fill the tooth and then the filling will be cured to harden.
Composite fillings involve filling the tooth with a tooth-colored resin. A shade guide is used to match the shade of the resin to your natural teeth. This is a highly aesthetic alternative to traditional silver fillings that would disrupt the cosmetic harmony of the smile in the front teeth.
While these fillings aren’t as durable as metal fillings, they are still significantly strong and durable but will not last as long in the rear molars which undergo more chewing force. After etching the tooth with an acidic solution, the composite resin is applied in layers and cured with UV light.
Composite fillings last for about 5 to 7 years. However, many people prefer composite fillings because of their superior aesthetics, biocompatibility, and lack of mercury which makes them suitable for more patients and allows us to preserve more of the natural tooth structure.
Silver amalgam fillings have always been the gold standard to fill the teeth until composite fillings were developed. Still, they remain the most durable, strong, and long-lasting fillings which are preferable for large fillings and the rear teeth.
Silver amalgam fillings are made of a mixture of metals such as mercury, silver, tin, and copper. Despite containing mercury, the ADA considers silver amalgams to be perfectly safe and you are at very low risk of mercury exposure.
However, they are not recommended for pregnant women or those with a metal allergy. While amalgams do cause a silver appearance, this won’t be noticeable in the back teeth and composite fillings are at higher risk of breakage in the molars, which are used for chewing and grinding. Metal amalgam fillings last for up to 15 years.
When composite fillings are used to fill a large cavity, you may need a dental crown for additional protection.
No, dental fillings are painless. Even when we need to drill away tooth decay, your mouth is always completely numb with local anesthesia and you can also be sedated for additional comfort and relaxation.
Composite fillings last for an average of 5 to 7 years. While these fillings are suitable for the front teeth as they improve the smile and are durable enough to restore these teeth, they aren’t recommended for the back teeth which need to withstand much more force from chewing.
These fillings are more prone to chipping, wearing away, or breaking in the rear teeth. Amalgam fillings have a longer lifespan of up to 15 years because they’re made of superior metal materials that are of the highest durability and strength.
These should always be placed in the rear molars, especially when the cavity is large and the tooth is at higher risk of breakage.
Composite fillings don’t require as much drilling as amalgam fillings.