The Complete Guide to Dental Filling Material

FillingsDental fillings often address holes in your teeth known as cavities. These cavities are the result of acids that form from bacteria in your mouth. These microbes break down sugars in food particles in your mouth and convert them into acids that destroy your enamel. This process is one of the most common dental diseases, and it is known as tooth decay.

Cavities can lead to toothaches and gum swelling since they sometimes leave the pulp and nerves in your teeth exposed to saliva and acids created in your mouth.

When you go to the dentist to have a cavity fixed, your dentist will remove the part of the tooth that is decayed, then the hole is filled with a putty-like material known as filling. This material eventually hardens and protects the tooth from further decay.

Fillings are not just used to deal with dental cavities, they can also be used to repair broken or cracked teeth. It can also be used to repair teeth that have been damaged and worn down by tooth grinding.

What to expect when getting fillings

During your appointment, your dentist will dull the gum and tissue around the tooth with an anesthetic. Next, a special drill removes the decayed area of the tooth. The instrument your dentist decides to go with often depends on his/her training and the equipment available.

Afterward, your dentist will prepare the tooth by cleaning it and removing any debris and bacteria that are still there. If the nerve is exposed, your dentist will use a liner to protect it. Finally, the filling is applied and polished after it hardens. Depending on the type of filling material that is being used, your dentist might also use a special light to harden the filling material.

What materials are fillings typically made of?

Once upon a time, fillings were primarily made of metal alloys, but things are completely different now. Fillings can be made from a wide variety of substances like gold, porcelain, silver amalgam, glass ionomers, or tooth-colored composite resins.

The material your dentist decides to go with depends on your budget, the extent of the damage done to your tooth, and your dentist's experience levels.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the materials fillings frequently consist of.

1. Gold

There are a few advantages to using gold to fill cavities. For starters, gold is very durable so these fillings last longer. Gold is also less prone to corrosion than other alternatives. Gold is a decorative metal and some people find gold fillings aesthetically pleasing.

2. Silver amalgam

These types of fillings are even more durable than gold and they can last up to 15 years. It is also the least expensive option as far as fillings are concerned.

3. Composites

Fillings consisting of composites blend in with your natural teeth. These are not as durable as silver amalgam fillings, but they are comparable to gold ones in terms of durability.

Learn more about the different materials that can be in fillings.

Request a dental appointment here: or call Oak Tree Dental at (703) 763-5239 for an appointment in our McLean dental office.

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