Dental Fillings and Tooth Caps: A Brief Guide
Fillings are the most common dental material used to restore the structural integrity and function of your teeth. If you have tooth decay or cavities, your dentist will recommend having them filled to prevent further deterioration of tooth structure.
In cases where a large filling or a root canal is required, or your tooth is broken, a tooth cap (a hollow artificial tooth) may be placed over your filling for added protection. Tooth caps which are also known as crowns, look and work like natural teeth. They may also be used for cosmetic purposes, such as to reshape teeth for a more attractive smile.
Types of Fillings
Dental fillings are of many types and it is up to you to decide which one you prefer.
- Composite fillings: Also called plastic or white fillings, these tooth-colored fillings look natural and can be done in one sitting. They are also less expensive than gold fillings but are not appropriate for all teeth, e.g. molars.
- Porcelain fillings: The most common type used by dentists, they are the same color as your tooth. Being hard and brittle at the same time, they can be used anywhere in your mouth and last a long time.
- Amalgam fillings: Also known as silver fillings, these are the least expensive. Made of a mix of metals such as mercury, silver, copper and tin, they are long lasting and easy to apply.
- Gold fillings: Gold is stronger than amalgam fillings and lasts for years. However, it is also expensive.
Watch this video to learn more about how tooth fillings are applied.
Regular dental checkups help monitor and protect your teeth from decay and cavities that could cause you to lose them. Your dentist will explain the benefits of having fillings as well as help you decide which type of filling material will best suit your needs. Fillings help extend the life of your teeth and reduce bacteria in your mouth for a happy and healthy smile.