What is a tooth filling?
The harmful effects of caries bacteria destroy tooth substance. The remaining hole in the tooth must then be restored. Otherwise, bacteria could settle in the open areas again in a short time. The same applies to tooth defects caused by mechanical stress or exposed tooth necks. The tooth filling protects the treated tooth, creates a smooth and resistant surface, and enables natural chewing of the food. Different materials and methods are available for the treatment.
When is tooth filling necessary?
A broken tooth, damage from caries, or excessive stress on the tooth surface, for example, through grinding. The affected area must be treated with a tooth filling whenever the protective enamel layer is no longer completely intact. The lining protects against further damage and maintains the healthy function of the bit.
Tooth fillings: types
Different materials are used to fill tooth defects. Longevity and good tolerance are the most important criteria for your selection. With this denture, a distinction is made between inlay fillings and usual fillings based on the application. For the inlay filling or inlay, after an impression of the damaged tooth area, a precisely fitting restoration is made that only needs to be used. Standard fillings, on the other hand, are placed as a plastic mass directly into the opening in the tooth, harden there in a short time and thus give the tooth back its natural function. There are different types of tooth fillings:
It is a form of care that has been tried and tested over decades. The name “amalgam” stands for an alloy of different metals. Mostly silver, copper, indium, copper, tin, and zinc combined with mercury. The mercury contained has brought criticism to the amalgam filling in the past because the substance can be harmful to health under certain circumstances. However, this applies mainly to mercury vapors and less so to amalgam fillings, which appear to cause minimal pollution. The high-pressure resistance and extended durability speak for this type of tooth filling. Amalgam is still the standard for restoration in the posterior region. Only the silver-gray coloring of the filling prevents use on the visible incisors and canines for optical reasons.
Ceramic is a sturdy material. Such makes the material ideally suited to be used as a durable denture. It is used in the form of inlays, primarily on the posterior teeth, where it has to withstand high pressure. The production is complicated and, accordingly, expensive. To make a custom-fit filling, a tooth impression must first be taken as a negative form. The finished ceramic filling can only be used after a second visit to the dentist. With their porcelain tones, the inlays adapt to the whiteness of the tooth. They also do not accept any discoloration in the long term, are extremely well-tolerated and durable. The statutory health insurance companies only cover the costs of a ceramic filling to a small extent.
One speaks here of “normal” fillings. They consist of a composite material consisting of plastic and several other components that can be worked directly into the tooth. Thanks to the different shades of white in the content, they can be individually adapted to the surrounding tooth shade. The plastic in the filling is first cured using a lamp with blue light. The treated tooth is ready for use again a short time after the filling has hardened. Overall, however, composite is not as resilient as ceramic, gold, and amalgam fillings. That is why they are mainly used for incisors and canines. Recently, however, composite fillings have also become available that are suitable for the treatment of posterior teeth.
Tooth filling with cement
Dental cement or, more precisely, glass ionomer cement is an easy-to-use and well-tolerated filling material. However, it wears out relatively quickly in use. As a result, cement is mostly used for temporary fillings or the treatment of milk teeth. For example, crowns are also attached to the tooth with a dental adhesive at the dental office.
Gold fillings belong to the inlay fillings (inlays) and have proven themselves for use on posterior teeth for many decades. They are made from an alloy of 20-22 carat gold. The precious metal does not react with the body’s substances and, as far as is known, does not trigger allergies. Gold fillings are resilient, and durability is superior to all other filler materials. The only things that speak against tooth gold are the clear visibility in the teeth and the high costs that result from the elaborate processing. The health insurance fund covers only a small proportion of costs. The patient must bear the additional costs unless medical reasons require the use of a gold filling.