If you have a cavity, you will likely need a dental filling to restore your tooth. Different types of fillings can get the job done. In this post, our Toronto dentists at our five Downtown locations (Bay Adelaide Dental, College Park Dental, Brookfield Place Dental, Richmond-Adelaide Dental and King-York Dental) explain why you'd need a tooth filling, and describe different types of fillings to consider.
What are dental fillings?
Dental fillings are used to restore the appearance, function and structure of a tooth, alleviating tooth pain you may be experiencing due to damage or decay.
Why are dental fillings used?
Tooth fillings can fix tooth decay, fractures and cracks. They help restore functionality to your tooth. In some circumstances, dental fillings can even be used to cosmetically improve you smile.
What are some signs I may need a dental filling?
To confirm whether or not a filling is the right dental choice, you should always consult with your dentist. But, there are some signs you have a cavity in a tooth that needs filling. If you experience any of these, book an appointment with your dentist:
- An existing tooth filling has broken or cracked.
- Your tooth feels rough to the touch.
- Your tooth is broken or chipped.
- When you examine your teeth, you see a hole or dark spot.
- Food keeps getting stuck between certain teeth.
- Your feel a sharp or throbbing pain in your tooth.
- You've lost a tooth filling and need a replacement.
What are dental fillings made of?
Dental fillings can be made of a number of types of materials, from amalgam to composite, porcelain and gold. While they are all safe and long-lasting, each material have their own advantages and disadvantages when repairing a cavity or decay. Here, our dentists provide advice on how to make the right dental choice for you.
Porcelain Fillings for Strength & Appearance
Also called inlays and onlays, porcelain fillings are brittle, hard, and combined with metal. These durable, tooth-coloured dental restorations are made in a dental lab and sent back to your dentist to place. Porcelain fillings are typically used on molars as they are stronger and longer lasting than other dental filling types.
You’ll often need to attend two dental appointments so your porcelain filling can be placed in your mouth.
Composite Fillings for a Natural Look & Feel
Composite fillings tend to blend in will with their surrounding teeth because their colour is very similar to natural teeth.
They are popular with patients who are concerned with how amalgam (grey) fillings may appear on teeth that are visible when they smile because they look and feel very natural.
They are easy to shape and sculpt onto a tooth and also bond naturally to teeth so dentists like them too. This means your dentist won’t need to remove as much existing enamel when preparing the tooth.
Before placing the filling, your dentist will remove tooth decay and add bonding material to the inside of the hole left by the cavity, fracture, or crack. Composite resin is then layered in the hole.
A curing light is used to harden each layer. After the last layer of resin has hardened, the filling will be carefully shaped to match your natural teeth.
Gold Fillings for Durability
Cast gold fillings are made using a model of your tooth. A cast gold filling is created in a dental lab from a mix of gold combined with other materials such as copper and silver using the model. It is then sent back to your dentist.
Your dentist will then cement it into your mouth. Though this very durable type of filling often lasts 20 years or more, it is also the most costly of the filling types. You'll also require at least two dental appointments to have it placed.