Tooth decay is one of the common dental problems of kids, teens, and adult patients. The lack of proper dental care is one of the leading culprits of dental decay. The plaque that sticks on the tooth’s surface attacks the enamel and leads to cavity formation. It’s vital that you see your dentist regularly so that he or she can easily restore your decayed tooth using the safest dental fillings. He needs to remove the decayed parts first and fill the tooth to restore its function and appearance.
What are dental fillings?
Dental restorations or dental fillings are used to build up a damaged tooth. Aside from decay, your teeth can also get damaged due to injury which leads to chipped, broken, or fractured tooth. Dental fillings are essential in keeping the structure and in preserving the integrity of your natural teeth.
Fillings can be applied directly or indirectly to the tooth. Over the years, dental professionals use different kinds of materials in restoring their patients’ teeth. Amalgam dental fillings are one of the long-standing materials that dentists still use even today. They use either metal or tooth-colored fillings through direct application. Metal such as gold and silver fillings are highly durable yet their dark colors seem to be aesthetically non-pleasing. Meanwhile, tooth-colored fillings such as composite, ceramic, and glass ionomer are the popular choices of patients nowadays since they complement the teeth’s natural shade. Since these materials are directly applied to the teeth, dental health professionals ensure that these are safe.
Are amalgam materials the safest dental fillings?
Silver amalgam is made using a combination of metals, including mercury, silver, tin, and copper. It’s one of the trusted and safe dental fillings in Canada that even your kids can have an amalgam filling. The levels of mercury found in these silver-colored fillings are not harmful to the human body. In fact, no health problems are linked to patients with amalgam dental fillings.
Amalgam has been used in dentistry to restore teeth over a long period of time. Different organizations caring for the public’s oral health, Canada Dental Association and even the American Dental Association, vouch for amalgam’s safety for dental use.
Amalgam fillings can last up to 15 years before they need to be repaired or replaced. Also, they are durable enough to withstand chewing pressure. Hence, dentists use them to fill large cavities, especially in molars. One of the drawbacks of this type of filling is that it creates a grayish color to the neighboring structure of the tooth. On one hand, patients who are allergic to metals are not recommended to have amalgam fillings. Having said this, dentists found other safe materials that are now widely used in direct dental restoration.
Other types of direct dental fillings
Gold filling is one of the strongest, most durable, and rarest materials used for dental restoration. The longevity of this type of filling is more than 15 years. What’s great about gold fillings is that they do not corrode and they can handle constant chewing force. Hence, they are ideally used for molars. Although the color is one of its drawbacks, however, the London dentist still recommends gold fillings when necessary to strengthen your weakened molars. Just a heads up, placing a gold filling material to the tooth requires at least two dental visits.
Composite resin fillings are popular since they match the teeth’s natural shade. Aside from being used as tooth-colored fillings, they can also be used to repair, broken, chipped, or worn out front teeth. Ideally, they are used to fill your damaged teeth that are visible when you smile. Since these composite fillings are bonded to the tooth, it adds more support to the weakened structure. In some cases, only a small portion of the tooth is removed before applying composite fillings.
Ceramic dental fillings are made from porcelain. This type of tooth-colored filling is a more popular choice among patients because of porcelain’s aesthetics, durability, and ability to resist stains. With proper dental care, ceramic fillings last for 15 years before they may need replacement.
Glass ionomer dental fillings are made from a particular type of glass combined with acrylic. Dentists apply this type of filling material below the patients’ gum line. Interestingly, glass ionomer filling releases fluoride that helps protect the patients’ teeth from decay. Hence, pediatric dentists use this type of filling to kids who need dental fillings. On one hand, this type of filling lasts for five years, and so they are considered temporary fillings.
Indirect dental fillings
Indirect dental fillings are comparable to that of ceramic and composite except that they are made separately using a machine. Sometimes, the hole created is too large for a filing after the dentist removes the decayed areas of the tooth. Hence, they use inlays or onlays to cover and protect the tooth.
Dentists use inlays when the damage is within the bumps or cusps of the tooth’s chewing surface. On one hand, they use onlays when the damage affects more than one cusps of the tooth. Dental onlays are also considered as partial crowns.
In the traditional method, the dentist takes an impression and creates a replica of the treated tooth. Then, he sends it to the laboratory that will create the inlay or onlay. Today, digital impressions easily capture the desired image necessary in creating the indirect filling. And, instead of sending to a third-party laboratory, the digital impression is sent directly to the machine that mills an inlay or onlay.
Indeed, practicing excellent dental care is vital to avoid dental decay. However, even when your tooth gets damaged due to cavities or injury, dental fillings are your easy fix. All you need is to visit your London dentist, and he or she is ready to save your tooth from being removed.