What is a Dental Filling?
A dental filling is special material that is used to repair a damaged tooth. Dental fillings may can be used for cavities, chips, fractures or wear. Several different dental restoration materials can be used to repair teeth. The materials include composite resin (white fillings), amalgam fillings (silver fillings), gold fillings, and ceramic or porcelain fillings. The most common filling material is composite resin since it matches the colour and shape of the teeth.
Dental Filling Procedure
The first step while having a dental filling is to numb the area with a local anesthetic to prevent sensitive or painful sensations during the process. Sometimes a small amount of tooth structure will need to be removed to place the filling properly. If the dental restoration is placed due to dental decay, the entire decayed portion of the tooth will be removed. Next, a filling material with the correct shade to match your tooth is chosen. The filling material is then shaped to match the structure of the surrounding teeth. Once the filling is the proper size and shape, it is hardened using a special curing light. The filling can still be adjusted after it hardens to ensure that the bite is perfect. The numbing sensation will go away a few hours after the procedure. Rarely, a small amount of sensitivity may persist for a couple weeks after a filling is placed. If the sensitivity does not go away on its own, let your dentist know.
White Fillings Vs. Silver Fillings
The two most common filling materials are white composite resin fillings and silver fillings. Each filling material has its advantages and disadvantages. Amalgam fillings are sometimes used for molar or back teeth because they can withstand the biting forces easier. However, advances in white fillings allow them to be placed in back teeth as well. White fillings are much more aesthetically pleasing but may not last as long as silver fillings. Make sure to talk with your dentist about the best options for your needs and smile.