Tooth decay frequently leads to cavities in the teeth. Bacteria eats away at the tooth down to the center or pulp causing the structure of the tooth to become unstable. When this occurs, your Baton Rouge dentist will fill the tooth to restabilize it and make it functional again.
Fillings can be completed in one appointment. Anesthesia is used for the dentist to remove the decay and apply medication to prevent further damage to the nerve endings. Once the decay is removed, filler is inserted into the damaged area of the tooth to close the cavity. There are several types of filler materials. Your dentist will determine which material is best for you depending on the damage to your tooth, the location in your mouth and your budget as some filler materials are more expensive than others.
Amalgam fillings are quite common and can be traced back almost 150 years. They are composed of an alloy of mercury, silver, tin, copper and a variety of other metals. Dentists like this material because it can last between 15 and 20 years before needing to have it replaced. It is typically used in molars because its appearance makes it unsuitable for front teeth. Amalgam fillings are also popular because they are the cheapest filling material. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this kind of filling.
- They are sturdy and built to withstand quite a bit of force.
- You can complete the filling procedure in a single visit.
- Fillings are less susceptible to moisture than composite resin.
- The silver appearance of fillings makes them very noticeable to others.
- Amalgam fillings will eventually corrode over time and discolor teeth in the process.
- Because the filling doesn’t bond directly with the tooth, it must be eased into place using wire.
- The nature of the filling requires a larger cavity – resulting in your dentist grinding away more of your tooth than is absolutely necessary.
- Although research has shown that there is minimal chance that it can cause poisoning over time, some people worry about the mercury in the fillings.
Composite Resin Fillings
These fillings are made of powdered glass and a mixture of other ceramic particles such as quartz and silica. Although these fillings are strong, they cannot compare to the strength and long-lasting structure of amalgam fillings. They are used for both large and small fillings and are suitable to be used in the front of the mouth.
Composite resin fillings can be placed directly or indirectly. They are bonded to the tooth using a blue light, or the dentist can take an impression of the tooth to make a molding and use cement to hold it in place.
- They can be made to match the color of your tooth.
- Typically, you can complete the filling procedure in a single visit.
- They are made stronger since they are bonded directly onto the tooth.
- This procedure does not require as much drilling that is needed for amalgam fillings.
- They are more expensive than amalgam fillings.
- They are not as long lasting as amalgam; an amalgam filling will last at least 10 years more than a composite resin filling.
- Composite resin sometimes shrinks once it is placed and can cause a gap between the tooth and the filling. This can lead to the growth of bacteria and even more cavities.
Cast Gold Inlays and Onlays
For those who can afford it, gold is a popular filling material. It can be used in any part of the mouth and is the longest-lasting filling material known. The installation procedure is simple; it is placed on the biting surface (inlay), unless more of the tooth is damaged, then it can be place on a larger area (onlay).
Gold is considered a good material because despite how many years it remains in place, it doesn’t tarnish. To install gold fillings, the dentist will need to make an impression of your teeth and send it to the lab. While the gold filling is being made, your Baton Rouge dentist will place a temporary filling on your tooth. Although gold fillings are a good material, they come with some disadvantages:
- Gold fillings require a minimum of 2 visits – the first visit is to make the impression and the second is to have it installed.
- They tend to be more expensive than most people can afford.
- If you install a gold filling next to an amalgam filling, this can result in small electric shocks inside your mouth.
- Gold fillings stand out against your teeth as they are not the same color.