Dental fillings are used to fill small holes or cracks in the teeth. Various materials such as amalgams or composites can be used to fill them.
We do not use amalgam fillings in our office due to the possibility of teeth cracking that can be caused by the expansion and contraction of this material and possibly leakage into the tooth structure. As an alternative tooth filling, we use a composite material which is biocompatible and composed of a plastic and glass particle substance.
This material is provided in many shades to match your existing teeth. The benefits of these materials are that they bond to the tooth and increased strength and durability. A dental filling may be diagnosed for various reasons, including, treating decay or repairing cracked or chipped teeth to repair decay.
We strive to be the most convenient place to get dental filling and cosmetic bonding for your entire family in Calgary.
How is a tooth filled?
If you need a filling, your dentist will perform the following steps:
Numb the area around the tooth using a pre numbing gel and then a local anesthetic
Use a drill to remove the decayed area of the tooth
Place the filling and harden it with a light
Check your bite and adjust if needed
Polish the filling material
What are my choices of filling materials?
More materials are available today than in the past for filling teeth—each with its pros and cons.
Gold, silver amalgam or tooth-coloured composites may be used. Your dentist can advise you what’s best based on the location of the tooth, the extent of the decay, and the costs involved.
Silver fillings are usually a silver amalgam consisting of mercury, tin, zinc, and copper as well as silver. Sierra Dental chooses to use more biocompatible materials and thus does not place these types of fillings at our clinics.
Durability: silver doesn’t corrode and is strong enough to withstand considerable chewing pressure
Longevity: should last 10-15 years or longer
Expense: much less expensive than gold and usually half the price of composites
Appearance: silver amalgam has a greyish colour that can partially discolour the tooth, so most patients prefer the look of gold or tooth-colour-matching materials
More removal work: more of the tooth needs to be removed to make space for a silver amalgam filling
More fracturing: cracks of the tooth are quite common due to expansion and contraction forces in silver-filled teeth
Allergies: around one percent of patients are allergic to the mercury in amalgam
Composite resin materials are increasingly used in dentistry in Alberta—not only as a filling material but to repair chipped, broken or worn teeth.
Appearance: people like the ability of composites to precisely match the colour of existing teeth and are often especially desirable for visible parts of teeth or front teeth
Strength: composite fillings bond to the tooth structure, bringing additional strength and support
More conservative: less tooth structure may need to be removed than with silver amalgam fillings
Durability: composites generally fare less well with the forces of chewing than silver or gold
Longevity: composites generally last for shorter periods than silver or gold
Take longer: composite fillings take longer than other fillings Chipping: composite materials may chip off the tooth
Expense: they usually cost double the price of amalgam fillings
Are there other types of tooth-coloured fillings?
Besides composite resin materials, the following alternative tooth-coloured filling types may be an option for you:
Ceramic: usually made of porcelain, which is very strong and more resistant to staining than composite material.
Glass ionomer: composed of acrylic and glass, which is less durable than composite resins. They are most frequently used for fillings below the gum line and for young children.
What are indirect fillings?
Indirect fillings are made in a dental laboratory and require two visits to your dentist to place:
Decay or old filling is removed, an impression is taken to record the shape of the tooth and surrounding teeth and a temporary filling is placed
The temporary filling is removed, the indirect filling checked and, if acceptable, it is permanently cemented into place.
You may require a filling like this if the tooth structure has been worn away so much that there is not enough remaining to support a filling but the damage does not warrant a crown.
Indirect fillings are similar in appearance to composite or tooth-coloured fillings.
Why would I need a temporary filling?
Temporary fillings usually fall out or wear out within a month and are replaced with permanent ones.
You may need a temporary filling if you:
Require a filling that needs more than one visit to the dentist’s chair e.g., a gold filling or indirect filling
We understand that you are busy and don’t always have time to visit a dentist for a routine checkup in the middle of your Monday. That’s why we offer extended hours from 7:00 AM to 8:30 PM Monday through Thursday.
We are also open all throughout the weekend. That’s right, we’re open every day of the week.
DIRECT BILLING TO INSURANCE PLANS
To support our clients, we offer direct billing, predeterminations of treatments, and financial arrangements to all our patients to ensure smooth and easy payment transactions.
PAYMENT PLANS & FINANCING AVAILABLE
We understand that dental services can be an unexpected expense. That’s why we offer flexible payment plans and options to suit our patients’ needs. Speak with one of our dental assistants to learn more.
At Sierra Dental, you will never struggle to find parking. Our clinics offer convenient parking options that are free of charge to our patients. It’s one more way we work to put a smile on your face.
Tooth-coloured resins do not contain filling materials that cause side effects or allergic reactions, such as mercury, chromium, nickel, and/or beryllium alloys. In fact, there are no documented cases of sensitivities or allergic reactions to a composite resin, which makes it the ideal filling material for all kinds of people.
That said, it is best to visit your dentist for an initial consultation so you can be informed about all the materials available for dental fillings, their benefits, and side effects, before making your decision.
If you need a filling, your dentist will perform the following steps:
Numb the area around the tooth using a local anesthetic
Use a drill, air abrasion instrument or laser to remove the decayed area of the tooth
Test the tooth to ensure that all the decay has been removed
Use a glass ionomer or composite resin liner to protect the nerve if the cavity is near the root
Prepare the space in the tooth for the filling by cleaning the cavity (bacteria and debris may have accumulated)
Insert the filling
Finish and polish the filling
For tooth-coloured fillings (see below), the filling material is applied in layers and your dentist will use a special light to harden each layer. The material must then be shaped to fit the tooth, trimmed, and polished.
Composites are more expensive than silver amalgam fillings so people in Calgary usually want to know where they stand with their dental insurance.
The good news is that most tooth fillings are covered at least partially by your insurance coverage
A composite filling is likely to cost several hundred dollars or more, depending on the location, the extent of decay, and so on.
How much of that is covered by insurance?
Most plans allow you to pay the difference between silver and composite fillings. This means that the costs of a silver filling are covered and you pay the extra, making composite colour-matching fillings more affordable.