TOOTH FILLINGS / TOOTH RESTORATION
I need a filling – what types are there?
There are a number of different fillings, including:
Amalgam (silver coloured).
Composite fillings (tooth coloured).
Glass ionomer (tooth coloured).
Gold inlays and onlays (gold coloured).
Porcelain inlays (tooth coloured).
What are amalgam fillings?
Amalgam fillings are silver coloured.It is economical to use and it is not unusual for an amalgam filling to last 15 to 20 years.
What are composite fillings?
Composite fillings are strong, but may not be as hard wearing as amalgam fillings. Composite fillings are tooth coloured and are made from powdered glass quartz, silica or other ceramic particles added to a resin base. After the tooth is prepared, the filling is bonded onto the area and a light shone onto it to set it. The dentist will choose a shade to match your own teeth, although over time staining can happen.
What are gold inlays and onlays?
These can be used in most areas of the mouth. An inlay is small and placed within the biting surface of the tooth. An onlay can cover a larger area of the tooth. Gold is the most long-lasting and hard-wearing filling material and will last for many years. An advantage of gold is that it does not tarnish and has great strength.
One of the differences between gold and other filling materials is that the gold filling is made in a laboratory. Your dental team will usually take an impression of the prepared cavity and send it to the laboratory for the technician to make the inlay or onlay. In the meantime, a temporary filling will be placed in the cavity. After the gold inlay or onlay has been made, your dentist will fix it in place with dental cement. This type of filling is more expensive.
What are porcelain inlays?
Your dental team can now use digital technology (called CADCAM) to design and prepare perfectly fitted porcelain inlays in just one or two visits. Porcelain inlays can also be made in a laboratory but this will need at least two visits to your dentist. Porcelain can be hard wearing and long lasting. It can also be coloured to match your natural tooth. Again, this type of filling can be quite expensive.
Your Dentist is the expert person to tell you what kind of dental filling is best suited for you . Talk to your dentist if you would like a particular type of filling material such as tooth coloured fillings.