When a tooth decays, cracks, or fractures, it needs to be filled so the issue doesn’t become worse. Your dentist will remove the affected portion of the tooth and replace it with a filling, usually composite or silver amalgam.
What are Amalgam Fillings?
Silver amalgam fillings are the traditional method of repairing decayed, cracked, or fractured teeth. Dentists have used them for over 100 years, removing the decayed or affected portion of a tooth and inserting the silver filling. Today, they are primarily used for back teeth, since the color is not as aesthetic as a composite (tooth-colored) filling, but they are still one of the most widely used options. As with most dental restorations, amalgam fillings are not permanent and may someday need replacement, but they are very durable and will last many years.
What is a Composite Filling?
Many people seek an alternative to amalgam fillings, and it’s easy to understand why. While amalgam fillings are durable and solid, their silver coloring immediately gives away a person’s dental history, and can negatively impact the appearance of a smile. A composite filling, which is tooth-colored, is a more aesthetic option, particularly useful for front teeth or highly visible areas.
Like amalgam fillings, composite fillings are used to repair decayed, cracked, and fractured teeth. They can also be used to close space between two teeth, or fill in chipped teeth. Their durability means they will last many years, although, as with most dental restorations, they will eventually need to be replaced.
How are Fillings Done?
Composite fillings usually only require one appointment. Your dentist will numb your tooth, remove any decay, and clean the area. If the decay was near a nerve, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The filling will be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.
Sensitivity to hot and cold is normal immediately after a filling, but your tooth should acclimate quickly and the sensitivity will subside. The Dr. Armstrong Team will give you instructions on how to care for your composite filling—as always, maintain good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits for optimum overall dental health.