The best filling is no filling, but most of us need a dental filling at some time in our lives. Did you know that there are different kinds of fillings, and some even blend in with your natural teeth? The dentists at Natomas Crossing Dental Care examine you teeth carefully, and if we find any signs of decay, we recommend that you get a dental filling in our Sacramento office. A filling can help to prevent further decay that may lead to tooth loss in the future.
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What kinds of fillings are there?
Traditional fillings, or dental restoratives, are made from gold, porcelain or composite materials. The strength and durability of traditional dental materials continue to make them useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand the extreme forces that result from chewing, especially in the back of the mouth.
Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, called composite resins, are generally used on all the teeth.
What tooth filling is right for me?
Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity and expense of dental restorations:
- The components used in the filling material
- The amount of tooth structure remaining
- Where and how the filling is placed
- The chewing load that the tooth has to bear
- The length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth
The ultimate decision about what to use is best determined in consultation with your dentist. At Natomas Crossing Dental Care, our dentists discuss the options with each patient before treatment begins. To help you prepare for this discussion, it is helpful to understand the two basic types of dental fillings:
- Direct fillings are placed immediately into a prepared cavity in a single visit. These include dental amalgam, glass ionomers, resin ionomers and composite (resin) fillings. The dentist prepares the tooth, places the filling and adjusts it during one appointment.
- Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. Indirect fillings include inlays, onlays, veneers, crowns and bridges fabricated with gold, base metal alloys, ceramics or composites. During the first visit, your dentist prepares the tooth and makes an impression of the area to be restored. The dentist then places a temporary covering over the prepared tooth. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory where the restoration is created. During the following appointment, your dentist cements the restoration into the prepared cavity and adjusts it as needed.