A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. If you have a tooth that requires a filling, Dr. Lane will first remove the infected portion of the tooth, clean the site, and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. A filling helps prevent further decay by closing off any cracks or spaces where bacteria can enter. There are a variety of filling materials available. The dentist will work with you to determine which material is best, depending on the extent of repair, where in the filling is needed, and cost.
- Composite (white) resins are custom made to the exact color of your natural teeth, creating a more natural appearance. While white fillings may be less noticeable than other materials, they usually only last between 3 and 10 years and may not be ideal for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time.
- Amalgam (silver) fillings are a more inexpensive choice and are tolerant to wear. However, due to their dark color they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not recommended for fillings in very visible areas such as front teeth.
If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown (or “cap”) may be recommended. Decay that has reached the nerve may be treated through root canal therapy or through a procedure called pulp capping.