- Posted by Dr Alex Loh
- On July 4, 2017
Ok, so you have just realised you have dental decay or your tooth has broken and you want to have it fixed. Just pop a filling in there, and it’s should be fine, right?
Did you know there a different filling materials which all have different strengths, weaknesses and applications? Putting the wrong type of filling material in your mouth can compromise the lifespan of your tooth, and leave you with a “gappy” smile in the long run.
So what different types of filling materials are there? Generally speaking, there are two main categories of fillings: direct and indirect.
Direct fillings are placed into the tooth as soft materials first, and are then “set” to make them hard. Because they start off soft, they tend to be weaker materials. But in small amounts (for example, small decay cavities or small chips or fractures), these direct fillings do the job really well. The most commonly used direct fillings are resin composite (which is tooth coloured) and dental amalgam (which is silver coloured).
Indirect fillings are made of much harder materials that don’t start off in a soft phase. They are hard from the beginning, and are therefore stronger and less likely to break. As a result, indirect fillings are much more suited to replacing larger amounts of tooth structure, for example if a big piece of tooth fractured off or if you had a very large hole caused by dental decay. The most commonly used indirect fillings are dental ceramics (which are tooth coloured) and cast metal (which can look silver or gold coloured).
Picking the right filling in the right circumstance is important to preserving the lifespan of a tooth. For those of you into home renovating, this could be likened to fixing a break in a plaster wall. If the hole in your wall is fairly small, patching it up with a bit of “Spakfilla” from your local hardware store would be fine. However, if someone had smashed out half the wall with a sledge hammer, and you tried to rebuild it with “Spakfilla”, you’d not only get a very fragile wall (not to mention it being very difficult to do!), if the Spakfilla were to collapse or break, it would likely take off more of the plaster wall with it!
This is why choosing the right filling material for your tooth is so critical!
If you are interested in knowing more about the different types of filling materials, and how it relates to your teeth, feel free to call eDentistry Wantirna on (03) 9800 1184 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and have a chat with us.