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How To Tell If You Need a Dental Filling

If you have a cavity, you will likely need a dental filling to restore your tooth. Different types of fillings can get the job done. In this post, our Kelowna dentists explain why you'd need a tooth filling, and describe different types of fillings to consider. 

What are dental fillings?

These restorations are used to restore the structure, function and appearance of a tooth that's been damaged or decayed, alleviating tooth pain you may be experiencing.

Why are dental fillings used?

Fractured, cracked, or decayed teeth can all be fixed with dental fillings. Dental fillings can sometimes be used to improve your smile's aesthetics while also assisting in the functionality restoration of your tooth.

What are some signs I may need a dental filling?

While you should consult with a dentist to determine whether you require a filling, here are some indicators that you may have a cavity that requires a tooth filling. If you notice any of the following symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist:

  1. Your feel a sharp or throbbing pain in your tooth.
  2. When you examine your teeth, you see a hole or dark spot. 
  3. Your tooth is broken or chipped. 
  4. Your tooth feels rough to the touch. 
  5. Food keeps getting stuck between certain teeth. 
  6. An existing tooth filling has broken or cracked. 
  7. You've lost a tooth filling and need a replacement.

What are dental fillings made of?

Dental fillings can be constructed from a variety of substances, including amalgam, composite, porcelain, and gold. While each of these materials is secure and durable, they also each have benefits and drawbacks when it comes to filling cavities or treating decay. Here, our dentists offer suggestions on how to choose the best dental solution for you.

Porcelain Fillings for Strength & Appearance

Porcelain fillings, also known as inlays and onlays, are brittle, hard, and made in conjunction with metal. These strong, tooth-coloured dental restorations are typically used on molars and are made in a dental lab and sent back to your dentist to place because they are more durable and longer lasting than a regular dental filling.

You’ll usually need to attend two dental appointments so your porcelain filling can be placed in your mouth.

Composite Fillings for a Natural Look & Feel

Because they are very similar in colour to natural teeth, composite fillings tend to blend in well with the surrounding teeth.

They look and feel natural, and are popular with patients who are concerned with how amalgam (grey) fillings may appear on teeth that are visible when they smile.

Composites are popular among dentists because they are simple to apply to a tooth and can bond to it naturally. This means that when shaping the tooth, your dentist won't need to remove as much of the existing enamel.

Your dentist will remove tooth decay and add bonding material to the inside of the hole so the filling can be placed. Composite resin is then layered in the hole.

A curing light is used to harden each layer. When the last layer of resin has hardened, the filling will be carefully shaped to match your natural teeth.

Gold Fillings for Durability 

Cast gold fillings are made from a model of your tooth. A cast gold filling is made in a dental lab from a mixture of gold and other materials such as copper and silver and is then returned to your dentist.

It will then be cemented inside your mouth. Though this type of filling is the most durable (typically lasting 20 years or more), it is also the most expensive. It will also require at least two dental appointments to be placed.

To learn more about which dental fillings are available at Landmark Dental Centre to schedule an appointment, contact our Kelowna dentists today.

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