Teeth that are decayed or broken need repair to prevent further breakdown and complications. The damaged part of the tooth is removed and replaced with filling material to restore the tooth to its original shape and function. A variety of different materials can be used to repair a tooth:
Metal fillings are a safe and cost-effective method of replacing decayed or broken teeth in the back or “posterior” of the mouth. They are made up of a mixture (amalgamation) of different metals, including silver. They fit the tooth well, wear naturally against the opposing teeth and are relatively long lasting. While not aesthetically appealing for front teeth, it has served dentistry well for over 150 years.
These are resin-based tooth-coloured filling materials selected to match your natural teeth and used to replace decayed or missing tooth structure. They wear naturally against your opposing teeth and are relatively long lasting. This material is used in the visible areas of your mouth.
Onlays fit ‘on’ or over the cusps/bumps on the tooth. Inlays fit in between the bumps/cusps of the tooth, in the concave portion. Both these restorations are made in a lab on models of your teeth and fired under extreme heat and pressure that provides superior durability to a restoration. This means a stronger, longer lasting restoration for your tooth. There are few kinds of material used and they are:
While these restorations are more costly than metal fillings, they are also longer lasting, providing exceptional value. They provide an excellent fit at the tooth “margins” or edges of the restoration. Because gold fillings last longer, it means that you are preserving tooth structure, as more tooth usually needs to be cut away each time a filling is replaced.
For long-term restorations near the front of your smile you may prefer a tooth coloured inlay/onlay. Porcelain onlays/inlays provide a very good fit at the margins/edges of the restoration and last a long time. Most porcelain is actually harder than tooth structure so it is not usually recommended for patients with grinding habits.