Dental decay can penetrate enamel, causing a cavity inside the tooth. Left untreated, a cavity will grow larger, exposing the tooth to harmful bacteria. Fillings stop the growth of cavities, protect against infection, and strengthen the tooth’s structure.
Fillings may be composed of many types of materials, so patients may have several options for restoring a damaged tooth. At MW Dentistry & Esthetics, we can help you decide whether composite fillings, amalgam fillings, or some other type of filling is the best for you. If you think you may have a cavity, we encourage you to contact us right away.
What to Expect
An appointment for a single filling usually takes no more than an hour. For most patients, this procedure might be uncomfortable, but it’s not painful (we administer a numbing agent before working on the tooth).
Once the numbing agent has taken effect, we gently drill the cavity, remove the decay, and clean out the tooth to prepare it for the filling. Most fillings are hardened within 24 hours.
Options for Treatment
MW Dentistry & Esthetics presents the various options for dental fillings, including their associated cost, so you can decide what’s best for you. Schedule an appointment today to get the dental care you need.
Types of Fillings
Cost, cavity size, and cavity location are the three most important factors in determining what type of filling is best for a patient. Other considerations include durability, appearance, and, in some cases, allergies.
We may recommend the following types of fillings:
Amalgam – This material is a combination of silver and other metals. These fillings are the most affordable, and they can last up to 20 years. Amalgam fillings are silver in color, so they aren’t the best choice for front teeth, and some people who are allergic certain metals may not be able to tolerate amalgam fillings.
Composite – Composite fillings are made of resin that can be color-matched to existing teeth, so they are a popular choice for front teeth. They last at least five years, and while more expensive than amalgam, they also form a stronger bond to the tooth.
Glass ionomer – This material isn’t strong enough to fill cavities in chewing surfaces. It is typically used for fillings near the gum line, and it contains fluoride ions that, over time, can help strengthen the surrounding tooth.
Porcelain – The terms “porcelain” and “ceramic” are often used interchangeably, but while closely related, they’re not the same material. Porcelain is a resilient type of ceramic that’s resistant to staining and decay, and its lustrous finish closely resembles tooth enamel.
In addition to offering porcelain fillings, MW Dentistry & Esthetics uses porcelain to make cosmetic overlays called veneers. Porcelain veneers can make the teeth appear whiter, straighter, and more evenly spaced.