Restoration fillings repair teeth damaged by tooth decay as well as preventing further decay by stopping bacteria from entering the tooth.
Benefits of composite fillings
Cavities are caused by tooth decay. If they are not filled, bacteria can enter and cause further problems, including decay. Restoration fillings cover a range of treatments that fill tooth cavities created by decay.
The process involves first removing the decayed part of the tooth. The area is then cleaned before the cavity is filled. A wide range of materials is used for fillings. Which is right for you will depend on your circumstances, i.e. whether you have allergies, how bad the cavity is, where the cavity is, your budget, etc. The most common materials used for tooth fillings are:
Porcelain – porcelain fillings match the colour of your teeth so give a natural look, and they don’t get stained overtime either. Many people choose them, therefore, for aesthetic reasons, although they are expensive – as expensive as gold fillings. They are usually known as inlays or onlays and are fixed with adhesive, usually covering most of the tooth.
Composite materials – the main benefit of composite materials is they are the same colour as your teeth so create a natural-looking repair. They are not recommended for large cavities and they are not as long-lasting as some of the other options. This is because they can chip over time and may also show signs of wear such as appearing stained. Generally, they last for up to 10 years.
Gold – gold fillings offer a number of benefits, such as being long-lasting (over 20 years) and the fact they normally cause no problems with gums. They are, however, the most expensive option, and you will have to visit multiple times. This is because they are created in a lab before being cemented into the cavity in your tooth.
A specially made alloy – made from mercury as well as other materials such as copper, silver, tin, and/or zinc. These fillings are long-lasting and inexpensive. They are dark in colour, however, so many people choose not to have them, particularly on front teeth and other highly visible areas.
There are some situations where a filling is not the best option. This includes if there is significant damage to the tooth – in this case a cap or crown is usually the recommended treatment. If the cavity has reached the nerve of the tooth, root canal or pulp capping are treatment options.
The only way to know whether a filling or another treatment is right for you is through an examination by your dentist. The dentist will use mirrors and other special instruments, as well as x-rays, as part of the examination.
The benefits of restoration fillings:
- Repairs teeth and restores them to their original structure
- Stops further tooth decay
- Prevents bacteria from entering the tooth
- Prevents further tooth damage