Fillings have traditionally been dark metal, but at Port Kennedy Dental we prefer white
Dental fillings can be used when part of a tooth is missing, commonly from tooth decay or trauma. A filling is placed with-in the tooth, returning the tooth closely back to original shape and function. Fillings have been used to repair teeth for centuries. They are one of the most common, cost effective and time proven dental treatments provided world-wide. Fillings will also help to reduce further decay and damage to your tooth.
Types of Fillings.
Fillings can be made from several types and combinations of materials. When the filling is directly made in your mouth it is commonly called a filling. When it is made indirectly (outside of your mouth) and then attached inside your remaining tooth, it is called an inlay or an onlay.
Direct metallic fillings are made from a mixture of silver, tin, copper and mercury. These are usually long lasting, durable and somewhat resistant to repeated decay. Direct metallic fillings are commonly called "amalgams" have been traditionally used. Today these are less commonly used, and most fillings are tooth-coloured.
Direct tooth-coloured fillings are usually made of synthetic plastics (composites) or glass cements (glass ionomers). Composite are suitable to cosmetically alter smiles, and reshape disfigured teeth, improving your smile. These fillings look like natural tooth and have a wide range of colours. They are however less durable and have a greater chance of further decay. Glass Ionomers also are tooth coloured and come in a range of colours. These are more suitable for damage on the roots of the teeth and to protect health of the tooth. They are not as strong as a composite filling but are more resistant to further decay. At the Port Kennedy Dental Group, direct tooth-coloured fillings are our preferred choice of filling (providing it is suitable). The products used by the Port Kennedy Dental Group to make a filling are on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods. This ensures the quality, safety, and performance of dental materials.
Local anaesthetic (when needed) is used to make the process of a filling painless and comfortable. Small fillings may take 15 minutes while a very large filling may take 45 minutes. Diseased or damaged parts of the tooth are removed and replaced with a suitable filling.
Making your filling last.
Most fillings might be expected to last 5-7 years. Small fillings may last much longer and larger fillings not so long. One of the most common failures is further decay. Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet and a fluoride toothpaste will help in prolonging the life of the filling.
When a stronger filling is needed.
Indirect fillings are used when greater strength, durability or a direct filling is unsuitable. They can be metallic (usually gold) or tooth-coloured (ceramic). Indirect fillings are generally used when damage to your tooth is fairly extensive. A greater amount of time is required than for a direct filling and usually takes two visits spaced apart. These also have a greater cost than a direct filling. At the Port Kennedy Dental Group we like to use "e.max" (strong lithium disilicate glass-ceramic) which creates strong tooth-like inlays. These are manufactured in Perth, Western Australia and meet the requirements of the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.
Suitability and Possible Complications
For some patients fillings will not be successful and complications can occur. At a dental consultation the risks, benefits of fillings and your suitability can be discussed.