Fillings

dentist fillingA filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. If you have a tooth that requires a filling, Dr. Phil or Dr. John Gallagher will first remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. A filling also helps prevent further decay by closing off any cracks or spaces where bacteria can enter.

There are a variety of filling materials available including gold, silver, plastic and porcelain.  Dr. Phil and Dr. John Gallagher will work with you to determine which material is best for you, depending on the extent of repair, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and cost. Each of the filling materials is briefly explained below:

  • Gold fillings are custom made in a laboratory and then cemented into place.  While gold fillings are often the most expensive choice, many consider it the best filling material.  Gold inlays are well-tolerated by gum tissues and may last more than 20 years.
  • Amalgam (silver) fillings are a more inexpensive choice and are tolerant to wear. However, due to their dark color they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not recommended for fillings in very visible areas such as front teeth.
  • Composite (plastic) resins are custom made to the exact color of your natural teeth, creating a more natural appearance. Tooth colored fillings may be less noticeable than other materials.
  • Porcelain fillings are called inlays or onlays and are custom created in a lab and then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the color of the tooth.

If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown, or cap, may be recommended. Decay that has reached the nerve may be treated through root canal therapy or through a procedure called pulp capping.