Dental fillings treat tooth decay and cracked teeth, broken teeth, or worn teeth. They may also be used to hide cosmetic flaws. If dental fillings are applied promptly, they can prevent tooth loss, which can be expensive and painful.
Traditional dental restoratives, or fillings, may include gold, amalgam, porcelain, or composite. Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, are typically used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important.
The type of filling material used will depend on the size and location of the decay and your personal preference. Some insurance companies also may only cover certain filling types. Metal fillings tend to last longer (up to 30 years) and may cost less but are less discreet. They may also pose an allergy risk.
Composite fillings blend seamlessly with your existing teeth, but are less durable, only last 5 to 10 years, and often cost more. If you have existing metal fillings, we can replace them with white composite fillings if you like.
There are also two different kinds of fillings: direct and indirect. Direct fillings are placed into a prepared cavity during a single visit. Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. These fillings include inlays and veneers fabricated with ceramics or composites and are more common in cases where the tooth is severely damaged or requires a crown.
All types of dental fillings require a local anesthetic to numb the area before treatment because they involve drilling. Decay must be removed to protect the tooth from further deterioration. After applying the filling, we will sculpt it to ensure your bite is comfortable.
How long a filling appointment will take depends on the number of fillings required and the type, with most falling somewhere between 10 minutes and an hour. We’re happy to provide a time-estimate when scheduling your appointment if necessary.