They can be used for a variety of reasons:
- To fill a cavity after decay has been removed
- To restore a chipped or broken tooth
- To restore a worn-down tooth
There are two types of fillings:
Direct Fillings: those down in one session such as amalgam, composite or glass ionomer fillings
Indirect Fillings: those made in a dental laboratory such as gold, ceramic or metal.
Which one will be best for you will depend on various factors such as size, shape, and position of the cavity.
There is a multitude of filling materials on the market. At Cosmetic Smile & Implant Centre our dentists are able to effectively use them all. For small to medium-sized cavities or dentists prefer to use tooth-coloured composite resin material, for larger cavities they use ceramic materials. Both of these materials are strong and highly aesthetic.
Amalgam: these are the silver/grey fillings that your normally see on the back teeth. They are very common in NHS practices. Amalgam fillings are strong and can last years, however, they can be very destructive and can also stain the tooth tissues. Amalgam fillings do not stick to the tooth, instead, they are squashed in and are larger on the bottom than the top.
Due to this, you have to remove more healthy tooth tissue. One good aspect of amalgam fillings is that they are very effective in areas where it is difficult to keep the tooth dry.
Composite: This is our go to choice of filling material at Cosmetic Smile & Implant Centre as it is highly aesthetic. Placing composite fillings is more technically advanced and we will normally use a rubber dam to isolate the teeth. A rubber dam is a sheet of non latex material that present moisture from the mouth getting to the tooth, composite fillings prefer dry teeth.
Once on, the majority of our patients prefer treatment under it. Composite material allows us to be very minimally invasive with our cavity prep and only remove what we need. Other than aesthetics, this is one of the main differences between composite and amalgam.
Glass ionomer: this is used mainly as a temporary filling or in children’s teeth. It is a white-coloured semi-permanent material. It will only last for 5 years and is easily worn down.
Ceramic/Porcelain: these fillings are highly aesthetic and long-lasting. They are perfect for larger cavities or broken teeth that need strength and support.
Gold: gold Is incredibly durable but it is one of the most expensive materials to use.