If you have ever had a cavity, you are probably familiar with dental fillings. Fillings are one of the most popular dental procedures available. But do fillings really benefit your teeth? Find out more about dental fillings with help from your Salisbury, MD dentist.
What are dental fillings?
Dental fillings restore a tooth affected by a cavity to its normal functionality and appearance. When a cavity forms, your dentist removes the decay from the tooth, leaving part of the tooth missing. After cleaning and drying the tooth, composite materials fill the hole left behind.
Do I really need a filling?
Decay begins on the tooth’s outer enamel layer and eats away through the dentin layer until it reaches the tooth’s inner pulp chamber where the nerve lies. Decay which has reached the inner chamber requires a root canal. However, cavities which have not yet reached the inner pulp chamber can usually be repaired using a dental filling, keeping the tooth’s nerve intact. By filling the tooth, your dentist creates a seal, keeping decay-causing bacteria from entering into the tooth and preventing additional decay.
What are my options?
Your dentist fills your cavity using one of several materials. They include:
- Porcelain: These fillings, called inlays or onlays, bond to the tooth. A dental laboratory customizes inlays and onlays specifically for you. These fillings are generally used in cases of larger fillings which are small enough to not require a dental crown.
- Composite resin: Your dentist applies composite resin fillings directly to the tooth after color-matching the material to your natural tooth color. This provides a natural appearance. Composite resin fillings may not be suitable for larger fillings.
- Amalgam: Amalgam fillings are made from silver, durable and more affordable than other options. They are, however, more noticeable than porcelain or composite fillings due to their dark silver color.
- Gold: Gold fillings are long-lasting and effective. Generally considered the best material for fillings, gold is more expensive than other options. A dental laboratory creates gold fillings, requiring multiple visits with several weeks in between.
The best way to determine if a filling is right for you is to consult with your dentist during a regular dental examination and cleaning. For more information on dental fillings, please contact Dr. Kathleen M. Geipe, DDS, PA in Salisbury, MD. Call (410) 543-0599 to speak with an associate about scheduling your appointment.