If a cavity is detected during a check-up, your dentist can provide a dental filling before it develops into a more serious problem. Dental fillings replace part of a tooth that has been lost because of decay, wear or accidental damage.
Your dentist will prepare the tooth for the filling; numbing the area, removing any decay, old fillings or weak areas of the tooth, shaping the hole so that the tooth holds the filling in place, then washing and drying the area by blowing water and air onto it. The filling is then placed into the tooth, and moulded into shape.
There are 2 types of fillings; silver (amalgam) fillings and white fillings. White fillings are more aesthetic as they can be matched in colour to the natural teeth. However they are not always suitable for every situation. Careful discussion with your dentist is vital in order to achieve the best result for your mouth.
Are there any risks from amalgam fillings?
Mercury in dental amalgam is not poisonous. Once it is combined with the other materials in the amalgam filling, its chemical nature changes so that it is harmless. Research into the safety of dental amalgam has been carried out for over 100 years. So far, no reputable controlled studies have found a connection between amalgam fillings and any medical problem.
Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays provide an alternative to fillings, replacing part of a tooth that has been lost because of decay, wear or accidental damage. They are stronger and can last longer than fillings, and are especially suitable for the chewing surfaces on back teeth and large repairs to front teeth.
An inlay sits in a hole in the tooth. An onlay sits on the tooth and builds up its shape. They can be made from tooth coloured porcelain, gold or composite.
The tooth is prepared in the same way as a filling. Once prepared, an impression is taken of the tooth using a soft mouldable material. This is then given to a dental technician to build a bespoke inlay/onlay to the exact size and shape required.
A temporary filling is applied on the tooth, whilst the inlay/onlay is being built. When they are ready, your dentist will glue the inlay/onlay into place and make small adjustments to ensure a comfortable bite is maintained.
Why should I consider white fillings?
Most people have fillings of one sort or another in their mouths. Nowadays fillings are not only functional, but can be natural looking as well. Many people don't want silver fillings that show when they laugh or smile because they are more conscious about their appearances.