Types of Dental Fillings
There are two main types of dental filling material which Dr. Vard works with:
- Composite material
- Amalgam material
Advantages of Composite material in Dental Fillings:
- Aesthetics. The shade/color of the composite fillings can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth. Composites are particularly well suited for use in front teeth or visible parts of teeth.
- Bonding to tooth structure. Composite fillings micro-mechanically bond to tooth structure, providing further support.
- Versatility. In addition to use as a filling material for decay, composite fillings can also be used to repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth.
- Tooth-sparing preparation. Sometimes less tooth structure needs to be removed compared with amalgam fillings when removing decay and preparing for the filling.
Disadvantages of Composite material:
- Lack of durability. Composite fillings wear out sooner than amalgam fillings.
- Increased chair time. Because of the process to apply the composite material, these fillings take longer than amalgam fillings to place.
- Expense. Composite fillings are more expensive than amalgam fillings.
Advantage of Amalgam material in Dental Fillings:
- Durability. Silver fillings last at least 10 to 15 years and usually outlasts composite (tooth-colored) fillings.
- Strength. They can withstand chewing forces.
- Expense. They are less expensive than composite fillings
Disadvantages of Amalgam material:
- Poor aesthetics. Silver fillings don’t match the color of natural teeth.
- Destruction of more tooth structure. Healthy parts of the tooth must often be removed to make a space large enough to hold the amalgam filling.
- Discoloration. Amalgam fillings can create a grayish hue to the surrounding tooth structure.
- Cracks and fractures. Amalgam material may experience a wider degree of expansion and contraction and lead to a higher incidence of cracks and fractures.
- Allergic reactions. A small percentage of people, approximately 1%, are allergic to the mercury present in amalgam restorations.
- The mercury contained in the amalgam releases low levels of mercury in the form of a vapor that can be inhaled and absorbed by the lungs.
The Process & Aftercare
Usually completed within one appointment, Dr. Vard will fill your tooth with the dental material you specify.
To start, Dr. Vard will numb the area around the tooth to be worked on with a local anesthetic. Next, using the appropriate dental tool, Dr. Vard will remove the decayed area.
After removing the decay, Dr. Vard will prepare the space for the filling by cleaning the cavity of bacteria and debris. Dr. Vard performs several additional steps for composite dental fillings. Finally, Dr. Vard will shape the shape filling material to the desired result, trim off any excess material and polish the tooth.
To maintain your fillings, you should follow good oral hygiene practices:
- Visiting us regularly (twice a year) for cleanings.
- Brush with a fluoride-containing toothpaste.
- Floss at least once daily.
Call us if:
- Your tooth is extremely sensitive.
- You feel a sharp edge.
- You notice a crack in a filling or if a piece of the filling is missing.
The use of mercury in dental fillings is to be phased out. The move is part of the Government’s adherence to the Minamata Convention, a United Nations agreement dating from 2013. The aim of the Minamata Convention is to protect human health and the environment by reducing, or eliminating altogether, the use of mercury.
As part of a European Union regulation implementing the convention on a phased basis, dentists will no longer use dental amalgam, in teeth of;
- children under the age of 15,
- or of pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Medical card patients should also note that, outside of the above categories, dentists are not permitted to provide them with white fillings for their back teeth.
We will take you through the pros and cons of each filling type and help you to decide which type meets your requirements.