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Dental Fillings - Treatment for Tooth Decay

If the cavity (tooth decay) is small, fillings are an appropriate restorative option.  By small, we mean that the old filling (if present) and decay must take up less than 50% of the tooth (above the gum line).  If the cavity takes up more than 50% of the tooth, then a crown or cap is necessary.  In other words, there must be enough teeth left to structurally support a filling.  If there is not, then the top of the tooth needs to be replaced with a crown.

Fillings are commonly differentiated by their color, either silver (grayish) or white (called tooth-colored fillings). Silver fillings or amalgams are made up of an alloy comprised primarily of silver, tin, copper and mercury.  Amalgams have been around for over 150 years are extremely durable and work extremely well.  However, cosmetic concerns have resulted in these being phased out in favor of the more esthetically pleasing tooth-colored fillings.

Tooth colored fillings are comprised of either composite resin or glass/resin ionomers.  Composite resin fillings are more common since they can stand up to heavy chewing pressures and not break.  Ionomers are better suited for non-load bearing situations—cavities between the teeth, for example.

Tooth colored fillings look great, but do have the disadvantage of costing slightly more.  The white filling material usually costs more than amalgam and typically takes longer to place in the tooth. As the longevity of tooth-colored fillings is typically less than that of silver fillings, they may also need to be replaced sooner.

How Can We Help You?

Dr. Janet Visanescu, DMD
Family and Cosmetic Dentistry
120 E Adams St Ste 1
La Grange, KY 40031
(502) 222-7874
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