Dental fillings are restorative materials to repair teeth affected by cavities, decay, or minor damage. The primary purpose of a dental filling is to restore the tooth's structure, functionality, and appearance. When a tooth develops a cavity or decay, a dental filling is placed to remove the decayed portion and fill the resulting hole or void. This prevents further decay and restores the tooth's strength and integrity. Dental fillings can also be used to repair minor chips or fractures in the teeth. At First Smile Family Dental, dental fillings can be made from various materials, including amalgam, composite resin, porcelain, and gold.
The Procedure for Dental Fillings
The process of getting a dental filling involves several steps. Initially, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth using a local anesthetic to ensure a painless procedure. The decayed or damaged portion of the tooth is then removed using dental instruments or lasers. The resulting cavity or hole is thoroughly cleaned and prepared. Finally, the filling material is placed into the cavity, shaped, and polished to blend with the natural tooth structure.
Types of Dental Fillings
Amalgam fillings and silver fillings have been used for many years. They are composed of metals, including silver, tin, copper, and mercury. Amalgam fillings are strong, durable, and less expensive than other materials. However, their silver color makes them more noticeable and can cause tooth discoloration over time.
Composite fillings, also called tooth-colored or white fillings, are made of plastic and glass particles. They are designed to match the natural color of your teeth, making them a popular choice for visible areas. Composite fillings bond well to the tooth structure, providing good support and insulation. They are versatile and can be used for both front and back teeth. However, composite fillings are less durable than amalgam fillings and may require replacement over time.
Ceramic fillings, also known as porcelain fillings or inlays/onlays, are made of dental ceramic material resembling natural tooth color and texture. They are custom-made in a dental laboratory and then bonded to the tooth. Ceramic fillings offer excellent aesthetics and are well-suited for visible areas of the mouth. They are highly durable and resistant to staining. However, ceramic fillings are more expensive than other options and may require more than one dental visit for placement.
Gold fillings, also known as gold inlays or onlays, are made of gold alloy. They are highly durable, well-tolerated by gum tissues, and can last many years. Gold fillings are custom-made in a dental laboratory and require multiple visits for placement. However, their high cost and visible appearance make them less commonly used today.
The choice of filling material depends on factors such as the location of the tooth, the extent of the decay or damage, and the patient's preferences. Visit First Smile Family Dental at 32717 1st Ave S., Suite 9, Federal Way, WA 98003, or call (253) 785-7323 to learn more about dental fillings.