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Teeth fillings, also called dental fillings, are most commonly used to restore teeth with minor to moderate cavities. They keep bacteria and food out of the cavities, preventing further tooth decay.
In some cases, fillings are also used to repair broken, chipped, or worn-down teeth.
Different types of cavities may require teeth fillings, including:
Front teeth cavities are treated the same way as any other cavity. However, dentists usually use porcelain or composite resin because they are located at the front of the mouth. This is because these materials mimic natural teeth.
On the other hand, back tooth cavities can also be restored with amalgam or metal fillings. This is because the back teeth are responsible for heavy-duty chewing and are not in an esthetic zone.
There are three main types of direct cavity fillings available. Direct fillings are made inside the mouth during one office visit. They include:
Composite material is a tooth-colored resin. It is the most common restorative material used for cavity fillings, broken teeth, and chipped teeth in both front and back teeth.
Silver amalgam fillings are a mixture of mercury with silver, tin, and copper. Mercury in dental amalgam is non-toxic, strong, and stable.
Silver fillings may be used to restore posterior baby and permanent teeth (premolars and molars).
There are two types of glass ionomer fillings:
These fillings are tooth-colored restorations made of polymerizable acids and ion-leachable glass particles. CGIs also release fluoride, which helps prevent future cavities.
Glass ionomer is not as durable as amalgam or composite.
These fillings are similar to CGIs but with more strength due to added resins. RMGI’s can fill cavities in primary (baby) or permanent teeth.
They are tooth-colored but are not as esthetically pleasing as composite resin fillings. They are also not as versatile.
Indirect cavity fillings are made outside the mouth, typically in a dental laboratory. They are custom-made for a person’s needs depending on the amount of tooth structure remaining and the severity of the decay.
Common types of indirect fillings include dental inlays and onlays.
Indirect fillings restore cavities that are too large for a simple cavity filling. They also take two office visits to complete. Types of indirect fillings include:
These fillings are tooth-colored restorations that copy the function and color of natural teeth. The color of porcelain and natural teeth are almost identical.
Gold fillings are one of the strongest indirect cavity fillings available. They restore teeth damaged by trauma, decay, or deep cavities.
Once you have your fillings, it’s important to take care of your teeth to avoid further damage. Here are a few things you can do to maintain your teeth fillings:1
Whether you have front or back tooth fillings, these are some general tips you can follow to take care of them.
Although teeth fillings don’t usually cause problems, certain issues can develop. Here’s a list of the most common issues people with teeth fillings experience:
Another issue to look out for is an allergy to the tooth filling. Speak to your dentist about any allergies before getting fillings.
Tooth fillings can last up to 7 to 10 years, but they don’t last forever. Teeth fillings can wear over time due to chewing, food particles, and bacteria.9
Here are signs that your fillings need to be replaced:10
Talk to your dentist if you see any of these signs.
The main providers of dental fillings for children and adults are:
These types of dentists also specialize in other dental treatments, including teeth cleanings, restorations, and sealants.
The cost of a cavity filling depends on the type of filling and the dentist’s location. Since fillings are used to treat cavities or trauma-related dental conditions, part or most of the procedure is covered by dental insurance.
The prices below reflect the cost of a cavity filling without insurance:
|Silver Amalgam Filling||$50-$200 (per tooth)|
|Composite Filling||$90-$300 (per tooth)|
|Glass Ionomers||$90-$300 (per tooth)|
|Indirect Gold or Porcelain Filling||$500-$4,500 (per tooth)|
Teeth fillings are used to treat minor cavities. They help protect the tooth enamel and prevent further damage from different types of cavities.
Dentists use a variety of materials for teeth fillings. Each one has inherent advantages and disadvantages.
Teeth fillings can last for a long time but aren’t permanent. Maintain your oral hygiene routine and visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist can replace your fillings if needed.
Speak to your dentist to help determine the best type of teeth fillings for you.
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