Fillings are used to replace tooth structure that has been lost due to decay, wear or trauma. Fillings help to restore the original shape, appearance and function of the tooth. They can also help to address mild sensitivity by sealing off exposed dentine.
Your dentist will usually give you local anaesthetic prior to your filling procedure, unless you wish to try without it. The affected portion of the tooth is removed with a drill and the clean surface of the tooth is prepared for placing the filling.
Fillings can be direct or indirect and can be made from a variety of materials.
Direct restorations are placed directly into the cavity into the tooth.
Direct composite resin restoration: A tooth coloured restoration commonly used to restore front teeth as well as many back teeth. Sometimes, it is not possible to use composite resin if the cavity extends too far under the gumline.
Direct amalgam restoration: A silver coloured restoration commonly used to restore back teeth. It is made from a mixture of metals including mercury, tin, copper and silver. It is quickly and easily placed and is ideal for deep fillings that extend below the gumline.
Glass ionomer restoration: A tooth coloured restoration that is normally used in back teeth. It is useful for deep fillings and it contains fluoride, which helps to strengthen the remainder of the tooth. It is becoming more commonly used with recent advancements in the technology.
Indirect restorations (Inlays and onlays) are restorations which are constructed outside of the mouth and are then cemented into the cavity that has been prepared. An inlay sits into the cavity in the tooth, whereas an onlay sits into and on top of the cusps of the tooth. Inlays and onlays are sometimes fabricated in the laboratory, which means your Westfund dentist may take a mould (impression) of the tooth and place a temporary restoration for 1-2 weeks while the laboratory makes the final restoration. Inlays and onlays are considered more durable than direct restorations, but they are usually more expensive.
Fillings can be made from a variety of materials including:
- Indirect composite inlay/onlay (tooth coloured)
- Indirect porcelain inlay/onlay (tooth coloured)
- Indirect gold inlay/onlay (gold coloured)