Stanhope Place Dental Practice
Dental Inlays & White Fillings
If your teeth are damaged by dental decay, I can restore them to their natural look and feel. My clinical skill and careful use of aesthetic filling materials allows me to painlessly place and sculpt fillings to re-create the original shape and function of your teeth.
My careful and meticulous technique means that you are assured the treatments carried out for your teeth will last many years.
In general I recommend the use of newer generation of white filling materials or white/ ceramic inlays. Where ever possible, I avoid using metal fillings, which have mercury as a component.
Q & A about fillings
What is a Filling?
A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. When a tooth is filled, first the decayed tooth material is removed, the affected area cleaned, and then the cleaned cavity is filled with a material of your choice.
By sealing the margins of the cavity where bacteria can enter, a filling also helps prevent further decay. Materials used for fillings include gold, porcelain, a composite resin (tooth-coloured fillings), and an amalgam (an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin and sometimes zinc).
Which Type of Filling is Best?
No one type of filling is best for everyone. What's right for you will be determined by the extent of the repair, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and the cost. Considerations for different materials include:
Gold fillings are custom made in a laboratory and then cemented into place. Gold inlays are well tolerated by gum tissues, and may last more than 20 years. For these reasons, many authorities consider gold the best filling material. However, it is often the most expensive choice and requires multiple visits.
Composite resins are matched to be the same colour as your teeth and therefore used where a natural appearance is desired. The filling material is bonded to the structure of your tooth and this can physically strengthen a hollowed out tooth. It is essential that the tooth is kept dry during the placement of the filling and this is the reason why I will always use a rubber dam to carry out this procedure. Nowadays, this material has become the first choice material to use in many cases and when meticulously placed you can expect your filling to last some 10 years.
Amalgam (silver) fillings are relatively inexpensive. However, they contain Mercury and there is a debate on the impactions use of mercury has on the general health of the population.
In its recent report The World Health Organization (WHO) says: "Mercury is highly toxic to human health, posing a particular threat to the development of the (unborn) child and early in life.
"The inhalation of mercury vapour can produce harmful effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, lungs and kidneys, and may be fatal.
"The inorganic salts of mercury are corrosive to the skin, eyes and gastrointestinal tract, and may induce kidney toxicity if ingested."
A recent treaty at the United Nations also aims to eliminate the use of Mercury over a period of time.
Porcelain/ Ceramic fillings are called inlays or onlays and are custom made in a lab and then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the colour of the tooth and resist staining. A porcelain restoration generally covers most 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 in two ways: through root canal therapy (in which nerve damaged nerve is removed) or through a procedure called pulp capping (which attempts to keep the nerve alive).
What Happens When You get a Filling?
If you require a tooth to be filled, I will first use local anaesthetic to numb the tooth. This is a crucial step to ensure that you do not experience any pain during the procedure. I will then isolate your tooth by applying a rubber dam. This will keep the cavity free from contamination from the bacteria in your mouth and will help to keep the tooth dry. This is important whenever a material such a composite filling is used, as the material will be bonded to your tooth.
Then the cavity in your tooth is cleaned off the decayed tooth tissue. I will use specially formulated dye during this step to ensure that the cavity is thoroughly cleaned. The cavity is carefully filled to produce a good seal and finally, the filling is sculpted to mimic your own tooth structure and finally it is polished.
How Do I Know if I Need a Filling?
Tooth decay is detected during your checkup. I use visual examination, specific tests and (if necessary) X-rays to diagnose that a tooth is decayed. The type of treatment which I will recommend will depend on the extent of the damage caused by decay.
My entire team welcome any questions you may have about about porcelain inlays and composite fillings on 020 7724 7440020 7724 7440. Otherwise feel free to download our free information sheet and Book an Appointment for a consultation.