What Are Fillings?
When your tooth has plaque build-up in crevasses and cracks of teeth that sit and begin to decay the tooth, cavities form and create sensitivity and pain to the tooth. Fillings cover and protect the cleaned cavity to prevent from further tooth decay, while eliminating the pain and sensitivity. Fillings come in various types; porcelain, ceramic, silver, composite resin, and gold.
Different Types Of Fillings
Composite Resin – Composite resin fillings are plastic fillings that are made to match the same color as the surrounding teeth. These fillings are usually made for smaller cavities, because they wear over time. Composite resin fillings can stain from coffee, wine and other foods and only last from 3-8 years depending on the patients chewing, clenching, and teeth grinding.
Gold – Gold fillings take multiple dental visits to finish, because they need to be ordered then fitted. Gold fillings last the longest of all the different filling types, 20+ years. These fillings tend to be the most expensive and used on the back teeth because they don’t look natural.
Silver (Amalgam) Fillings – Silver fillings are more affordable than gold or tooth colored fillings that can be used on the front or back teeth, however tooth colored fillings are more natural looking. Silver fillings last usually 5-15 years and sometimes more depending on the bite and chewing habits of the patient.
Ceramic and Porcelain Fillings – Porcelain fillings are tooth colored to match the color of the patients surrounding teeth. These fillings last longer than composite resin fillings but shorter than silver fillings, which is all dependent on the patients chewing and biting habits. CEREC technology has allowed porcelain fillings to be completed very quickly and efficiently. Porcelain fillings are stain resistant and can also be called dental onlays or dental inlays. A dental onlay extends over the cusp of the tooth, whereas a dental inlay fits inside the cusp as most fillings. Porcelain fillings have similar cost to gold fillings but are the more practical choice for a tooth visible by smile.
The time that a filling last is all dependent on the habits of the patient. Habits like grinding teeth and uneven chewing can speed the wear of the filling.
If your tooth is causing sensitivity or pain, there is a chance that a cavity may be the cause. The dentist and certified dental hygienist will administer local anesthesia to numb the decayed area. Then the plaque build-up and tooth decay will be removed by cutting through enamel while shaping the filling pocket. The filling will then be placed and bonded to the tooth where it will be polished.
If you need a dental filling or have questions about tooth sensitivity and pain, call Pacific Dental Center at 760.436.7222 to schedule an appointment.