Fillings

When you see your dentist/hygienist for regular check-ups and cleanings, your dentist does an examination of your teeth. During the examination he will look for any signs of cavities, infections or pathologies.

If he finds a cavity, a dental filling may be recommended to treat this cavity. A dental filling is a common treatment performed by your dentist and can be done in 2 types of materials; amalgam (grey/metal) or composite (white).

The materials:

Amalgam fillings

Amalgam is a metal and is one of the most commonly used dental materials. It is composed mostly of mercury, silver, copper and tin. The advantages of using amalgam for your fillings are:

  • The cost, it is the least expensive material to use.
  • The most durable material when used to repair teeth or surfaces that bear a lot of pressure.
  • It is easy to install.

Amalgam does have disadvantages, one of them is the color. It doesn’t resemble a natural tooth. Many people choose amalgam to repair back teeth.

At your filling appointment, the dentist will give you a local anesthetic in order to desensitize the tooth. Your dentist will then remove the cavity from your tooth and place the restorative material in that area.  The  dentist then shapes it to resemble the features of a natural tooth. It is recommended not to eat on that side for the rest of the day as amalgam takes approximately 12 hours to fully set.

Composite

Composite material is typically made of powdered glass and acrylic resin that is applied to the tooth in many layers. The advantages of using composite for restoring your tooth are:

  • The color of the material, which can resemble the color of your teeth.
  • You are able to eat or drink almost right away.
  • The material is easy to install.

The treatment:

At your filling appointment, the dentist will follow much the same protocol as with amalgam fillings. However, the dentist will place the composite in small layers in the area and will cure it using a blue light. He/She will keep adding layers of composite until the tooth is well filled and then shape it to resemble the features of a natural tooth. Once the effects of the local anesthetic wear off, the tooth may be sensitive to hot and cold for a while. If the sensitivity continues and/or becomes worse, call your dentist.