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A dental filling is a way to restore a decay-damaged tooth to its normal function and shape. If you have a tooth that requires a filling, Dr. Sylvan will remove the decayed material, clean the affected area, and fill the cleaned out cavity. A filling helps prevent further decay by closing off any cracks or spaces where bacteria can enter.
You can chose among a variety of filling materials, including gold, silver, plastic and porcelain. Dr. Sylvan will work with you to determine which material is best for your particular case, depending on cost, the extent of repair and the location in your mouth where you need the filling. Here’s a rundown on each of the available filling materials:
- Gold fillings are custom made in a laboratory and cemented into place. While gold fillings are often the most expensive choice, many consider it the best filling material. Gum tissues tolerate gold inlays very well and the inlays can last more than 20 years.
- Amalgam (silver) fillings are less expensive choice and people tolerate them well. However, because they are dark, they’re more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations, so we don’t recommended them for fillings in very visible places, such as your front teeth.
- Composite (plastic) resins are custom-made to match the exact color of your natural teeth, creating a more natural appearance. While white fillings may be less noticeable than other materials, they are not as durable, usually lasting between 3 and 10 years. They may not be ideal for large fillings since they can chip or wear over time. If you are a coffee or tea drinker, or a smoker, beware that composites can become stained.
- Porcelain fillings called inlays or onlays, are custom created in a lab and then bonded to your tooth. We can match them to the color of the tooth. Porcelain resists staining and costs about the same as a gold filling. A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth, making the filling nearly invisible.