We use fillings to restore teeth to their original form and function if they are affected by tooth decay. Dr. Gregory J. Gorman, DMD installs fillings by extracting the decayed portions, cleaning the affected area, and then filling the cavity with a filling material. Fillings also prevent decay by closing off areas where bacteria can gather and spread.
Types of Fillings
Filling materials used include porcelain, gold, a composite tooth resin (this type is known as tooth-colored fillings) and amalgam fillings made of an alloy of mercury, tin, copper, silver and often zinc. Each one has certain advantages and disadvantages.
Porcelain fillings are further divided into inlays and onlays. Inlays are indirect fillings that are placed on points on a premolar or molar. Onlays lay atop one or more points. The procedure for crafting and placing them is the same for both, however.
Porcelain restorations usually cover the entire tooth. We make them in our lab and then bond them to the tooth. They are designed to match the color of the tooth to which they are attached.
Gold fillings are similar to porcelain fillings in that they are often quite expensive. Multiple dental visits are often required for us to place them. They are made to order in our professional dental laboratory, and then we cement them onto the tooth. Gold inlays can last for more than 2 decades because gum tissues tolerate them incredibly well, and many consider gold the best filling material for that reason.
Composite fillings (also known as plastic fillings or resins) are made by mixing the ingredients and placing them in the tooth cavity so they can harden. They are a good choice if you want a natural appearance because we can make them the same color as your teeth.
However, since they can wear or chip over time, they aren’t the best option if you need large fillings. Tea, coffee, and tobacco can stain them. They usually last between 3 to 10 years, which is less than other options.
Amalgam fillings (also called silver fillings) are rather cheap and are designed to resist wear. However, since they are darkly colored, it is easier to notice them in comparison to porcelain and composite fillings. For that reason, we try to avoid using them in visible locations, such as on the front teeth.
Which Kind of Filling Works Best?
The right filling will depend upon which kind of tooth is decayed, the extent of the decay, whether you are allergic to certain materials, and the cost. For these reasons, we must determine which filling to use on a case-by-case basis.
If a large section of the tooth is affected by fracture or decay, we may recommend a crown or cap. If decay has reached the nerve, we have two options for treatment. We can perform root canal therapy, where we remove the damaged nerve, or we can try to keep the nerve alive in a process called pulp capping.
For more information, please contact our office at (970) 812-3959.