What Are Fillings?
Fillings are used to replace part of a tooth that has been lost through caries (decay) or from accidental damage. There are two main types of fillings:
Silver fillings have been used for many years in dentistry to fill teeth and are made of amalgam. Amalgam is a mixture of mercury with a metal alloy consisting of; silver, tin & copper. When it is mixed it is soft in consistency but rapidly hardens once placed into the tooth.
White fillings are a relatively new addition to dentistry and are made of materials including; glass ionomer, composite and compomer. Like amalgam they are placed into the tooth in a soft form but harden either chemically or by activation using a blue light.
Every situation is different and in discussion with you, your dentist will be able to advise you which type of filling best meets your needs.
Whichever type of filling you have your dentists will usually make the area around the tooth numb, although some small fillings many not require an anaesthetic. Any decay will then be removed along with damaged tooth and old filling material. The hole (or cavity) is then shaped depending on the type of filling material to be used. If the hole is deep then the dentist may place a lining material before putting the filling in.
Are there any alternatives to fillings?
There may be alternatives to fillings which are suitable for you and we will talk this over at your consultation. Options can include adhesive fillings, veneers, crowns and inlays.
Will fillings hurt?
No – we will use a local anaesthetic so you won’t feel any pain whilst having a filling.
Do I have to have a filling?
We will discuss all the available options with you but you shouldn’t leave a damaged tooth untreated as this could lead to pain, infection and other problems.