A tooth filling is a way to restore a tooth that has been damaged by decay, a crack or teeth grinding. It closes off the spaces where bacteria can enter the tooth and helps prevent further decay. If a cavity is very large, your tooth may require a crown rather than a filling. When your tooth is filled, decayed tooth material is removed, the affected area is cleaned, and then the cleaned out cavity is filled.
Materials used for fillings include gold, ceramic, a composite resin (tooth-colored fillings), and amalgam (silver-colored fillings). Lanphier Family Dental can recommend the most appropriate filling material based on your needs and budget.
Composite (plastic) resins can be matched to be the same color as your teeth and are preferable where a natural appearance is desired. Composites may not be the ideal material for large fillings, since they may chip or wear over time. They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco, and do not last as long as other types of fillings.
Gold fillings are made to order in a laboratory and then cemented into place. Gold inlays may last more than 20 years but are often the most expensive choice.
Ceramic fillings are produced to order in a lab and then bonded to the tooth. They are a very aesthetic choice because they can be matched to the color of the tooth, and they resist staining.
Amalgam (silver) fillings are resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive. However, due to their dark color, they are more noticeable than ceramic or composite restorations and are not usually used in very visible areas, such as front teeth.
To learn more about tooth filling options, please call Lanphier Family Dental at: (415) 454-8640.