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Do I Need a Dental Filling?

We all know that dental fillings are required to restore a tooth that has a cavity, but is there a way to know if you need one? Our Toronto dentists discuss some signs to look for and when to see a dentist.

What Dental Fillings Are

These restorations are used to restore the structure, function and appearance of a tooth that's been damaged or decayed, alleviating tooth pain you may be experiencing.

Why Dental Fillings Are Used

Tooth fillings can fix fractures, cracks, or tooth decay. They help restore functionality to your tooth and in some circumstances, dental fillings can be used to make cosmetic improvements to your smile. 

Signs You May Need A Dental Filling

While you should see a dentist to confirm whether you need a filling, here are some signs that you may have a cavity that needs a tooth filling. If you experience any of these, schedule an appointment with your dentist:

  • You feel a sharp or throbbing pain inside your tooth.
  • When you examine your teeth, you clearly see a hole or dark spot.
  • Your tooth has become broken or chipped. 
  • Your tooth feels rough to the touch. 
  • Food consistently gets stuck between the same teeth. 
  • An existing tooth filling has broken or cracked. 
  • You've lost a tooth filling and need a replacement.

What Dental Fillings Can Be Made From

Dental fillings are made from a diverse variety of materials such as amalgam, composite, porcelain and gold. While each of these materials is safe and generally long-lasting, they also each have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to repairing a cavity or decay. Here, our dentists provide advice on how to make the right dental choice for you. 

Porcelain Fillings for Strength & Appearance

Also called inlays and onlays, porcelain fillings are brittle, hard, and made in combination with metal. Made in a dental lab and sent back to your dentist to place, these strong, tooth-coloured dental restorations are typically used on molars as they are more durable and longer lasting than a regular dental filling. 

You’ll usually need to attend two dental appointments so your porcelain filling can be placed in your mouth.

Composite Fillings for a Natural Look & Feel

Because they are very similar in colour to natural teeth, composite fillings tend to blend in well with the surrounding teeth.

These types of filling have the advantage of looking and feeling like natural teeth, making them relatively popular with patients who are concerned about the look of amalgam fillings which are grey.

Dentists like composites because they are easy to sculpt and shape onto a tooth, and bond naturally to a tooth. This means your dentist won’t need to remove as much existing enamel when preparing the tooth.

Your dentist will remove tooth decay and add bonding material to the inside of the hole so the filling can be placed. Composite resin is then layered in the hole.

A curing light is used to harden each layer. When the last layer of resin has hardened, the filling will be carefully shaped to match your natural teeth.

Gold Fillings for Added Durability 

Cast gold fillings are made using a model of your tooth. Created from gold mixed with other materials such as copper and silver, a cast gold filling is created in a dental lab and sent back to your dentist.

It will then be cemented in place inside your mouth. Though this type of filling is considered the most durable (typically lasting 20 years or more) it also has the highest price tag and you'll also require at least two dental appointments to have it placed.

If you think you might benefit from having a dentist take a look at your teeth to check for cavities, contact our Toronto dentists today to book a checkup.

Book an appointment with our team at Church Wellesley Dental Centre.

At our downtown Toronto dental clinic, we can't wait to see you smile!

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