A filling is one method used by dentists to restore a partially decayed tooth back to its original function. For teeth that require fillings, Dr. Paesani will initially remove the decayed material of the tooth. Next, the area will be cleaned and filled with a particular filling material. Fillings work to prevent further decay of the vulnerable teeth by sealing off crevices where bacteria and harmful pathogens can enter into the tooth.
Fillings are available in a number of different materials including amalgam, composite resin and porcelain. With Dr. Paesani’s help, you will be advised as to which filling is right for you. Factors determining the solution include the level of repair necessary to the tooth, where the filling is located on the tooth, and how much the material costs.
Amalgam (Silver) Fillings
Amalgam, or silver, fillings have been used extensively in the past. However, they unfortunately tend to fail over time by cracking the tooth. This type of filling has been largely replaced by other superior materials. Due to their darker color, they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not recommended for visible locations such as the front showing teeth. Patients often express their concerns regarding the mercury content within their amalgam fillings. To clarify: mercury release is negligible from existing fillings. These fillings should only be replaced when breakdown is noticeable.
Composite (Plastic) Resin Fillings
Composite, or plastic resin, fillings are made custom and individually to correlate with the color of your teeth. The overall impact of such fillings is more aesthetic in nature. Modern composite resins and bonding agents are highly durable and can last just as long or if not longer than amalgam fillings. They are designed specifically for anterior and posterior teeth and can restore teeth without major visibility of the filling itself.
Porcelain fillings, also known as inlays or onlays, are custom created in our office using state-of-the-art technology and then bonded to the tooth. They can be color matched to your teeth, function to resist staining, and if cared for properly, may last 20 years or more. An onlay restoration replaces damaged tooth structure like a puzzle piece, leaving healthy tooth structure when possible. It is the strongest and most effective restoration that can be made for your teeth. Onlays can often be used and recommended instead of crowns and generally cost less than a crown treatment.
Extensive Tooth Damage
For teeth that have experienced severe decay or extensive fractures, a crown may be recommended. A crown is a manufactured cap to a tooth which prevents further decay from entering the tooth. In certain instances where decay has gotten very close to the nerve, a root canal procedure may be the best solution for the tooth.