What Types of Filling Materials Are Available?
When a tooth becomes decayed, this will slowly create a cavity which will weaken the tooth. If the cavity is allowed to get bigger than then if the decay reached the nerve of the tooth ( the pulp) then pain can often arise leading to an abscess.
Filling of the cavity after the removal of decay is the most common way of arresting decay once it has started.
There are several different types of materials used for white dental fillings that enable us to restore teeth. However, at The Perfect Smile, we like to use the new age composites and porcelains that have natural-looking aesthetics and incredible durability. We commonly use materials that give the appearance of natural teeth but also are hard wearing.
There are several types of fillings which are done in a single visit directly in your mouth, called direct fillings. These are :
These are the dark silver fillings commonly seen in the back teeth. They are quick and easy to do and are commonly carried out on the NHS.
Amalgam fillings have gained popularity since they are strong, durable and inexpensive.
They consist of an amalgamation of Mercury liquid and an alloy powder that is then packed into a prepared cavity.
Composite Fillings (white fillings)
These are the traditional tooth coloured fillings. Composites made up of a very hard plastic and glass substance. The techniques used are more demanding than those needed for amalgam fillings.
It involves shaping a soft putty-like material and then setting it hard with a bright blue light.
However, unlike amalgam fillings composite fillings are bonded to the tooth structure making them more secure. They also come in different densities and differing filler particle sizes which are used according to the type of restoration required for any individual case.
Glass Ionomer Fillings
These materials contain tiny glass particles combined with acrylic powder and set hard via chemical bonding.
They are popular in children’s dentistry since they only last approximately 5 years but they release fluoride thus help to prevent tooth decay.
These are combined Glass Ionomer Cements with Composite resins. They incorporate the best of both strength and release of fluoride. Although they have slightly reduced aesthetics when compared to Composites.
There are various types of porcelain available of the market created to have slightly different properties so they can be used in unique ways. Essentially they are strong, very durable with amazing aesthetics. However, they tend to be more expensive.
This is usually a gold alloy as pure gold would be too soft and is made in a laboratory. Although not a popular option any more, they provide strong sturdy fillings that last a long time.
These are preventative resin fillings, which are often placed, with minimal or no drilling on the fissures of back teeth, by sealing the actual fissures, to prevent decay.
There also fillings such as Enhanced Composite Fillings, which are reinforced composites that have superior properties such as those of porcelain, so they wear less and are stronger.
They are often made in a process similar to ceramics and the treatment requires two visits and as such are called indirect Fillings.
If you feel that you have had fillings in your mouth for a while or are aware of any symptoms please book in for a comprehensive Health Assessment.
This is a detailed oral hygienic examination of your mouth to check for any infections and to determine the structural integrity of each and every tooth.
In summary, despite there being multiple methods to fill a tooth, prevention is best. This can be by observing the sugar in foods, observing certain preventive regimes or using various types of applications on the teeth.
Medically reviewed & updated on December 15, 2021