What are dental fillings and why do I need to have them?
A dental filling is used to repair tooth decay "cavities", minimal tooth fractures or otherwise damaged surfaces of the teeth.There are different types of dental fillings, such as:
1. Tooth Coloured Fillings - Dental Composite "white filling" or "plastic (resin) filling"
Composite is a plastic tooth-coloured material that is used as a filling. It bonds "sticks" to the tooth structure and is usually placed into the cavity in layers until the tooth is restored to its original form.
A blue light is used to harden it, and it can be chewed on immediately after it has been completed. Most of the fillings placed nowadays are tooth coloured ones.
2. Silver Fillings - Dental Amalgam
Dental amalgam is a safe and durable material that has been used by dentists to restore teeth for well over 100 years. It is an alloy or combination of two or more metals including silver, copper and tin to which mercury is added. It is mixed and packed into the tooth cavity. Amalgam fillings are held in place by the shape of the pre-drilled cavity. It is extremely durable and able to withstand the grinding and chewing of your back teeth over long periods of time.
The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) affirms the safety of dental amalgam as a restorative material. Patients are assured that the current extensive scientific evidence shows amalgam fillings, whether old or new, do not constitute a threat to their health. Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated that there is no evidence of any association linking amalgam fillings with chronic degenerative diseases, kidney disease, autoimmune disease, cognitive function, adverse pregnancy outcomes, or any non-specific symptoms.
Also, the studies have failed to demonstrate that removal of amalgam fillings will improve patients’ health or result in the remission of any symptoms of illnesses. The current policy statement of the FDI World Dental Federation and the World Health Organisation supports the continuing use of dental amalgam as a safe and effective restorative material.
3. Porcelain or Gold inlays/onlays
An inlay is an indirect restoration (filling), made of porcelain or gold by a dental technician in the dental laboratory, fitted to the cavity in a tooth and cemented into place.
An onlay (partial coverage crown) is the same as an inlay, except that it extends to replace a cusp or completely cover the chewing surface only (cuspal covereage) of the tooth in contrast to dental crowns which completely cover all surfaces of a tooth.
Have questions about dental fillings?
You probably have! Our dentists can answer them and, based on an analysis of your situation, discuss with you which dental filling would be right for you. Call us now 04 978 4964