Dental Fillings in Greenwood
If a tooth is damaged by decay, amalgam and composite fillings can be used to restore the tooth and bring it back to its natural function and structure. Fillings help prevent further decay by literally “filling” the spaces of the tooth where bacteria can gather.
What steps are involved in filling a tooth?
First, our dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth that needs to be filled to keep you comfortable and the entire procedure pain-free. Next, the decayed area will be removed and prepped for the filling. Once Dr. Gleixner or Dr. Diekhoff have confirmed that all of the decay has been removed, they will clean the cavity, fill it in, and polish it.
What is an amalgam filling?
Amalgam is a mixture of mercury with at least one other metal. This type of filling has been used to fill teeth for over 150 years. When placed in the tooth, amalgam remains soft for a short time which makes it easy to manipulate and pack into irregularly-shaped crevices. Most amalgam fillings last for up to 12 years, while other fillings last only half the time.
What are the benefits and shortfalls of amalgam fillings?
Amalgams (silver fillings) are very durable. They last 10-15 years and can withstand even the strongest chewers. They also tend to be less expensive than composite (tooth-colored) fillings.
Despite the longer durability of amalgam fillings and less expensive, they do have a few negatives. This filling is silver and therefore is visible on the tooth. Additionally, amalgam fillings can cause discoloration (grayish) to the area around the filled tooth. A crack or fracture to the tooth is slightly more likely to occur because the metal material is more likely to expand and contract. Finally, there is a very slight chance for an allergic reaction to the mercury present in amalgam filling (about 1% of the population has this reaction).
What is a composite filling?
Composite fillings are made of a plastic resin and silica filler. They serve the same purpose as an amalgam filling but are tooth-colored which allows for more flexibility in where they can be used.
What are the benefits of composite fillings?
Composite fillings are a good choice for patients who prefer that their fillings look more natural. They blend in with the white color of your teeth. Also, the composite material makes your tooth stronger because of the way it bonds to the tooth. They’re also the ideal choice if the contours of the teeth make the filling visible even when your mouth is closed.
How does the process differ?
Composite fillings require the tooth be kept clean and dry throughout the filling process, so placing a composite filling often takes a little longer than an amalgam filling.
There are two other options for tooth-colored fillings — they include ceramics and glass ionomer fillings. If you have any questions about fillings or want to learn more about our procedure for them, please contact our Greenwood, IN dental office at 317-885-7760.