Don’t worry; you’re not alone: Australian adults have (on average) 11 decayed, missing or filled teeth.1 That’s a lot of fillings across the country!
In good news, regular trips to your dentist will help identify problem areas before they become cavities. And if you do have decay, they can treat it and repair your tooth, so you can walk out with a smile!
Let’s take a look at how your local dentists treat tooth cavities with fillings.
Fillings are material that your dentist will use to restore your damaged teeth to their normal shape and function.
Common signs you need a filling include:
We recommend visiting your dentist regularly for routine check-ups to identify any problem areas early. Tackling problems early means that treatment will be less invasive and more affordable.
Your dentist will first remove the decay from inside your tooth. Your dentist will use a local anaesthetic to numb the tooth and the surrounding area. To make you feel as comfortable as possible, your dentist will ensure you can’t feel anything when they remove the decay.
After the tooth has been prepared, we restore the tooth with a filling material. We’ll discuss which type of filling material might be best for you beforehand, which can depend on the extent of the decay, the location of the cavity, and your personal preference (e.g. price, appearance).
The type of filling your dentist uses to fill a cavity will depend on a few contributing factors. Your dentist will discuss all the options with you before your treatment.
Composite or synthetic white fillings are the most popular due to their natural tooth-coloured appearance and strong seal to the tooth itself. They are even colour-matched to your teeth as closely as possible. They are often used as a replacement for stained, chipped, or leaking fillings.
Also known as traditional silver fillings, these are a combination (or “amalgam’) of several metals, including silver, tin, copper, and mercury. Amalgam fillings are usually lower cost, easier to place and, because of their strength, may be more appropriate for larger cavities. Amalgam has been safely used in dentistry for more than 150 years and still has a place today.
Gold fillings (or inlays) are durable and don’t corrode. Placing a gold inlay is a two-stage procedure, so this treatment is more expensive. While they make for a vividly coloured restoration, their durability makes them an attractive long-term solution to decayed teeth.
Porcelain or ceramic onlays or inlays are also a two-stage procedure. Unlike gold fillings, these have a natural appearance that matches your tooth colour, but lack the same durability.
Glass ionomer is a tooth-coloured material similar to dental cement that can also be used as a sealant. This is not as strong as other materials and is often used as a temporary filling or as a base under other filling materials.
No special preparation is needed
Your hygienist will give you advice about daily dental care like teeth brushing and flossing techniques.