If you have a cavity, your dentist will recommend that you have it filled. To place a filling, your dentist removes the decayed part of your tooth and fills the area with a safe and durable material. Dentists may also use fillings to repair worn or cracked teeth.
What are different types of filling materials?
There are different materials that your dentist can use for fillings. These include cast gold, silver filling (amalgams), tooth-colored composites, ceramics, and glass ionomer. Talk to your dentist about the advantages and disadvantages of each material to determine the best choice for you.
What is involved in the tooth filling procedure?
During placement of a dental filling, the dentist uses a local anesthetic to numb the area around the infected tooth. Then, using an air abrasion instrument or laser, they will remove the decayed part of the tooth. The dentist will then test the area to make sure all of the decayed material has been removed.
The next step is to clean the area of any remaining debris and bacteria. The dentist may apply a glass ionomer to protect the nerve. Then they will apply the filling to the area. A special light is used to harden the filling material, and any excess material is removed.
Indirect fillings are similar to composite fillings but are made at the laboratory. Dentists use these fillings if the tooth structure is too damaged to support a regular filling, but the tooth is not damaged enough to require a crown.