Teeth damaged by decay or breakages can often be restored using fillings, but which is the right one for you?
Perhaps the most well known dental treatment is the filling. Most of us will probably have had at least one or two in our lifetime. Although it is a commonly used procedure, there are different types of fillings that can be used according to each individual situation.
There are pros and cons for the use of each of these and you can be sure that our experienced Woking dentists will make sure that you have the most appropriate one to restore your teeth, leaving them as strong as possible.
Whilst there are other methods of restoring a damaged or badly decayed tooth, a filling is still most likely to be the first treatment that we will consider. In today’s blog, we take a look at four types of filling and their uses.
Amalgam fillings have been in use for around 150 years. In some respects, it may seem incredible that it is still widely used, but it has proved to be a strong and durable material which may explain why this is the case. As you would expect, there have been refinements made over the years and indeed, early use of amalgam led to a number of illnesses due to the mercury used in it. Although this is still used in amalgam, it is now at such a low level that it has been deemed to be safe by the various professional dental bodies.
The other materials used include tin and silver and it is these metals that make it so strong. It is not without its problems though and the metals do also produce a dark colour which make the fillings very visible when we open our mouths. There is also the problem that amalgam slowly shrinks over time and may come away from the natural tooth. As it does this, it creates tiny gaps that bacteria can enter, and further tooth decay may occur.
Increasingly, both old and new patients of Synergy Parkside are turning away from amalgam and are turning to tooth coloured fillings instead.
Tooth coloured fillings
As the name suggests, these are not the dark colour of amalgam but can be produced to match the natural colour of your teeth, rendering them almost invisible to the naked eye. This has an obvious advantage for anyone looking to have the best smile possible. Unlike amalgam, these fillings contain no metal and instead use a combination of glass particles, resin and a setting agent, enabling us to provide you with a natural looking filling.
Aesthetics are not the only benefit of this type of filling though. Unlike amalgam it doesn’t shrink and therefore decay around the filling is less of a problem. Less of the natural tooth also needs to be removed before the filling is placed. For amalgam, the tooth has to be shaped so that the amalgam can be placed into it, whereas a tooth coloured filling adheres better to the tooth and often less of the natural tooth needs to be removed. Although these fillings are now almost as strong as amalgam, they may not be suitable for large cavities in rear teeth, and for those seeking a natural looking restoration inlays or onlays may be used instead.
Composite fillings can be used for certain types of cavities but they do lack the strength of the previous types we have just mentioned. They are more likely to be used where the tooth does not have a significant role to play in the breaking down of food when we eat. It bonds well to the tooth and is also sometimes used in cosmetic dentistry; for example, in closing the gap between the top front teeth. Composite can also be porous and therefore vulnerable to staining and is generally used as a shorter term solution.
Glass Ionomer (GI)
Most of you will probably never have a GI filling. It is rarely used where decay is concerned and is more likely to be used in non biting areas, for example, to protect the roots of a tooth that have been exposed by receding gums, possibly caused by gum disease. In general, it is rarely used in most dental practices though does have a limited role to play.
With any damage to a tooth, whether a breakage or a cavity, there are usually a number of possible solutions to restore it, including, but not exclusively, dental fillings. The tooth will need to be examined first by one of our dentists before a decision can be made. To make an appointment with us, please call Synergy Parkside in Woking on 01483 766355.