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How To Tell If You Need a Dental Filling

If you have a cavity, you will likely need a dental filling to restore your tooth. Different types of fillings can get the job done. In this post, our Calgary dentists explain why you'd need a tooth filling, and describe different types of fillings to consider. 

What are dental fillings?

These restorations are used to restore the structure, function and appearance of a tooth that's been damaged or decayed, alleviating tooth pain you may be experiencing.

Why are dental fillings used?

Tooth fillings can be used to repair fractures, cracks, and tooth decay. They help restore the functionality of your tooth and, in some cases, can be used to improve the appearance of your smile.

What are some signs I may need a dental filling?

Listed below are some indications that you might have a cavity that needs to be filled, though you should still consult a dentist to be sure. Make an appointment with your dentist if any of these occur:

  1. Your feel a sharp or throbbing pain in your tooth.
  2. When you examine your teeth, you see a hole or dark spot. 
  3. Your tooth is broken or chipped. 
  4. Your tooth feels rough to the touch. 
  5. Food keeps getting stuck between certain teeth. 
  6. An existing tooth filling has broken or cracked. 
  7. You've lost a tooth filling and need a replacement.

What are dental fillings made of?

Dental fillings are available in a variety of materials, including amalgam, composite, porcelain, and gold. While each of these materials is safe and long-lasting, they also have their own set of benefits and drawbacks when it comes to repairing a cavity or decay. Our dentists offer guidance on how to make the best dental decision for you.

Porcelain Fillings for Strength & Appearance

Porcelain fillings, also known as inlays and onlays, are brittle, hard, and created in conjunction with metal. These sturdy, tooth-coloured dental restorations, which are created in a dental lab and then delivered back to your dentist for placement, are frequently used on molars because they are more long-lasting and durable than a typical dental filling.

You’ll usually need to attend two dental appointments so your porcelain filling can be placed in your mouth.

Composite Fillings for a Natural Look & Feel

Because they are very similar in colour to natural teeth, composite fillings tend to blend in well with the surrounding teeth.

They look and feel natural, and are popular with patients who are concerned with how amalgam (grey) fillings may appear on teeth that are visible when they smile.

Composites are popular among dentists because they are simple to sculpt and shape onto a tooth and bond naturally to it. This means that when preparing the tooth, your dentist will not have to remove as much existing enamel.

Your dentist will remove tooth decay and add bonding material to the inside of the hole so the filling can be placed. Composite resin is then layered in the hole.

A curing light is used to harden each layer. When the last layer of resin has hardened, the filling will be carefully shaped to match your natural teeth.

Gold Fillings for Durability 

A model of your tooth is used to create cast gold fillings. A cast gold filling is produced in a dental lab and delivered back to your dentist. It is made of a mixture of gold and other materials, including copper and silver.

Then, it will be fixed inside your mouth with dental cement. Although this kind of filling is the most expensive, it is also the most durable (usually lasting 20 years or more). Additionally, getting it placed will require at least two dental visits.

To learn more about which dental fillings are available at Spackman Dental to schedule an appointment, contact our Calgary dentists today.

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