Dental fillings are special materials that are used for restoring decayed or damaged teeth. There are a variety of dental filling materials used. The type of material used varies depending on the area of the mouth they will be placed, and depending on how the filling will affect your smile.
White Fillings – These are also referred to as composite dental fillings. This type of filling is used if the teeth being restored are visible when smiling. These filling materials can be precisely matched to the surrounding teeth for a natural look. White fillings bond directly to the tooth, which requires less removal of tooth structure before application, unlike silver fillings.
Silver Fillings – Also referred to as amalgam fillings. They were widely used historically, but are rarely used nowadays. Silver fillings are generally stronger than white fillings, and still may be used for teeth in the back of the mouth due to the increased biting forces they have to handle.
Other Fillings – Some fillings may be produced in a dental laboratory. Examples include gold fillings and porcelain fillings.
First, your dentist will perform a thorough dental exam to determine dental fillings are required. Dental x-rays will usually be needed by your dentist to ensure that areas of the tooth that are not visible under the gums can be seen radiographically. Tight areas where two teeth meet can also be seen easily on a dental x-ray.
Use of a numbing agent or local anesthetic may be used before preparing the tooth for the dental filling. Any decay affecting the tooth will be removed to ensure a clean tooth surface. Once the area is prepared, the dental filling is placed and shaped to match the natural tooth structure of nearby teeth. The filling material is then hardened with a special UV light.
Contact us if you think you may need a dental filling, or if you have any questions about tooth restoration options.