Dental filling - how do dentists choose the type of filling?

Diseases of the oral cavity require special attention, because they cause a lot of inconvenience to a person – from pain while eating to malocclusion and the appearance of nasolabial wrinkles for this reason. To treat teeth, dentists use filling material to preserve the beauty of a smile.

What are dental fillings?

A filling is a material used by a dentist to seal a cavity left after mechanical or other damage. It is also used to treat the consequences of a pathological destructive process called caries. A dental filling helps to preserve the shape and function of a diseased tooth, as well as to ensure the correct bite.

There are many types of formulations suitable for these purposes: the choice of a particular one depends on the type of damage and the financial capabilities of the patient. The following types of dental fillings are particularly popular:

  • cement;
  • plastic;
  • amalgam;
  • ceramic;
  • light-cured;
  • composite;
  • glass ionomer.

what are dental fillings

cement filling

It has the most affordable price tag today among all existing varieties of compositions. Thinking about what dental fillings are made of, you should not associate them with building cement. The dentist mixes a special base with a liquid acidic component to form a paste that is placed into the cavity. Among the disadvantages of this type of composition can be called:

  1. It is recommended to be used only for dental treatment in children. This is due to the large shrinkage that cement gives and with reduced durability.
  2. Dental filling from this material is toxic. An additional gasket is required for its secure installation.
  3. Cement is a fragile material, in 80% of cases, according to doctors, it causes repeated caries. Due to low strength, the warranty period is only 5 years.

cement filling

plastic filling

Another cheap filling is one that is made from an acrylic mixture. This is a plastic material known as an intermediate option between cement and more expensive and durable compounds. Plastic materials for filling teeth are divided into two types:

  1. First generation composition based on acrylic acid, not characterized by high safety.
  2. Second generation material with epoxy components, low toxicity and light weight.

The service life of a dental filling made of plastic is similar to that made of cement. It is recommended to be used to cover small affected areas of tooth tissues or in combination with a crown. The disadvantages of plastic material include:

  • significant shrinkage after hardening;
  • high porosity, which increases the risk of pulpitis;
  • rapid leaching with saliva;
  • inability to withstand severe stress;
  • slight staining due to food and drink.

plastic seal.jpeg

amalgam filling

This is the name of one of the varieties of sealing materials based on mercury, silver, zinc and tin. The first component easily dissolves hard metals, so the dental filling takes the shape of a tooth and is securely fixed. It is difficult to mechanically damage and is striking in its durability, so this composition is often chosen as a free one, provided to the patient under a medical policy. But do not forget about the many disadvantages of amalgam:

  1. An unnatural metallic sheen stands out too much against the background of a continuous dentition.
  2. According to modern dentistry, an amalgam filling eventually leads to chipping.
  3. It hardens for too long (over 2-3 hours), and the next day the patient will have to go to the doctor to polish it.
  4. Mercury in its composition has a toxic effect: the health hazards of the material are still being debated.

amalgam filling

Ceramic filling

From this composition, special tabs are made with a high degree of imitation of natural enamel. Ceramics is not cheap, but it is distinguished by high resistance to damage and staining, the absence of an unpleasant taste in the mouth and a service life of at least 15 years. The composition of the dental filling is formed outside the oral cavity: it is installed already in finished form and fixed with a special glue with adhesive properties.

ceramic filling

Light curing filling

Photopolymer or light materials – both of these definitions refer to the same type of composition. This is the most popular type of dental fillings, which is a polymeric restorative composition. It is designed for reliable sealing of cavities in the tooth caused by caries, pulpitis, periodontitis. The seal becomes solid under the influence of radiation from the curing lamp. She has enough advantages that are worth paying attention to:

  1. The composition takes the desired shape in just a matter of seconds. This is a modern treatment tool that requires a UV lamp.
  2. Talking about the types of dental fillings made of light materials, dentists insist on their use due to the fact that they are applied layer by layer, imitating the natural look of enamel.
  3. It can build up a broken piece of dentin or crown part.
  4. The doctor has the opportunity to choose a shade that matches the natural tone of the enamel.

light curing filling

Glass ionomer filling

This composition was invented by dentists who dream that the restoration would be associated with the prevention of the secondary occurrence of diseases. No matter how other types of dental fillings are distinguished, the materials for the glass ionomer differ favorably from them. They contain fluorine – it strengthens the enamel and serves as a prevention of the return of caries. Due to its low cost, it is often found in dental clinics, although it has several installation nuances:

  1. The composition has a fragile structure, so the service life of a dental filling is no more than 5 years.
  2. It is preferred to be used to treat children rather than adults.
  3. The glass ionomer is better suited as a lining for deep tooth cavities.

glass ionomer filling

Chemically cured composite filling

It is in many ways similar to light: the material hardens due to a chemical reaction, adjusting to the natural shape of the bite. To understand what a chemically cured dental filling consists of, you need to understand that for its preparation, aluminosilicate glass powder is mixed with a water-based polyacrylic acid solution. It differs from light in the following features:

  1. The adhesion of chemically cured cement is 10 times lower, so this inlay has an increased risk of falling out.
  2. This dental filling cannot be used to treat molars and premolars.
  3. The composition has a liquid consistency, therefore, it is not suitable for the restoration of seriously damaged areas.

chemically cured composite filling

What are the best dental fillings?

The variety of materials used in dentistry is amazing and can completely confuse the patient. Which one to use is decided by a specialist in the treatment of oral problems: he does this on the basis of the condition and characteristics of the jaws. The best dental fillings today are made from light and ceramic compounds. Amalgam, cement and metal have already been abandoned in most countries.

How is a filling placed on a tooth?

This procedure occurs in the normal mode – during a scheduled visit to the dentist. Before a filling is placed, an examination is carried out, identification of carious cavities with a dye and an x-ray examination to detect destruction of the dentin. Steps for installing an inlay on a tooth:

  1. Before filling, a local anesthetic is injected to make further manipulations painless.
  2. Removal of carious deposits from the enamel surface with a drill or laser.
  3. Drilling of the affected tissues with a high-speed handpiece.
  4. Cleansing the resulting cavity, without which it is impossible to use a tool for fixing dental fillings.
  5. Placement of antimicrobial and insulating pads.
  6. Installation of a filling material and its fixation with an adhesive composition.
  7. Grinding and polishing of the tooth.

What to do after a tooth filling?

The recommendations of doctors on behavior after visiting the dentist’s office do not differ, regardless of which composition was used as a sealant. Tooth filling suggests that the patient refuses to eat for 1.5-2 hours. You will also have to forget about excessively hot or cold food at least for a day. Discomfort and sensitivity to the temperature of food and water should pass within the next 7-14 days.