What is a filling?
A filling is a widely-used method for restoring a damaged tooth to its natural look and function. If the damage has been caused by decay, the dentist will need to begin by removing all decayed tooth material. Next, he will thoroughly clean the affected area. Finally, he will fill the affected area with a filling. These fillings have an additional benefit of preventing further decay by sealing off any area where bacteria could enter and begin to cause decay.
Several filling materials are available for dentists to use. These fillers include gold, silver, plastic, and porcelain. Your dentist will consult with you to help you determine which material will best meet your needs. The consultation will include such subjects as the extent of the restoration work, the placement of the restoration work, and the cost of the restoration work.
Gold is almost always the most expensive option, it is considered by many to be the best option. The gold filler is more friendly to the gum tissue and can last for an extended period of time.
For many years, silver fillings have been a standard choice. They are less expensive than gold. The coloring of silver makes them more noticeable than porcelain or other options, so they are not usually recommended in visible areas.
Composite (plastic) resins can be custom colored to the exact color of your teeth so that the final look is more natural. However, this filler usually only lasts between three to ten years. They are not usually recommended for large fillings. They are also more vulnerable to staining from tea, coffee, or tobacco products.
Porcelain fillings are custom-fitted and bonded to the tooth. They have a couple of advantages in that they can be custom colored to match your tooth and they resist staining. These fillings usually cover most of the tooth and are practically undetectable.