Which Type of Filling Is Best for Front Teeth?

Which Type of Filling Is Best for Front Teeth?

Healthy teeth and gums are often equal parts prevention and treatment. Unfortunately, regardless of how rigorous your at-home oral care routine is, accidents happen and cavities develop. In fact, a majority of people need to visit their dentist at least once for a filling.

Like many restorative options, fillings have come a long way since the days when metals like gold and silver were the go-to for dentists. But what happens when you need a filling for your front teeth? 

Here, Dr. Meriem Boukadoum at 54th Street Dental explains how today’s fillings make getting that picture-perfect smile easier than ever before

Fillings restore and strengthen

Let’s start with a quick review of what fillings are, why you’d need a filling, and why you shouldn’t put off having it done. A filling is a type of dental restoration that addresses a cavity or cracked, broken or damaged teeth.

 Not treating the issue, whether it’s to fill a cavity or address tooth damage, typically results in one of two possible scenarios. 

One is further degradation of the tooth to the point where it can’t be saved and needs to be extracted. The second may include a severe infection, which can also lead to an extraction. Further, the infection can spread to our parts of the body.

Numerous types of filling options

Dental filling treatment is a tried-and-true restorative dentistry procedure, and you have more filling material options than ever before. 

Using materials that mimic the natural color and luminosity of healthy teeth is increasingly popular for restorations, with the decision usually coming down to price, appearance, and durability.

 The filling choices include:

Gold and silver fillings

Gold fillings are the oldest and most expensive type of filling. Gold fillings can last longer than 15 years, but a dentist installs gold fillings in multiple appointments.

Silver fillings, also known as amalgam fillings, were the go-to in the recent past. Similar to gold fillings, amalgam fillings can last 10 to 15 years, and they’re usually the most affordable option. They rate high in value but not so much in aesthetics. 

The other issue with silver fillings is that the material makes them more prone to tooth expansion and contraction, which can result in cracks and fractures.

Porcelain fillings

Porcelain fillings, sometimes called ceramic fillings, are super stain resistant. Their cost is comparable to gold fillings, and they typically last longer than gold fillings. 

Composite fillings

Composite or composite resin fillings offer the ultimate twofer. They provide great aesthetics, and since they’re installed in a bonding process, composite fillings support and strengthen the tooth. While not as stain resistant as porcelain fillings, composite fillings do repel stains.

If you’re looking for the type of filling that’s the closest match to natural teeth, composite fillings are your best bet. They’re color matched to the affected tooth and its neighbors, making them particularly useful for teeth that are visible when you smile.

One-visit treatment option

Generally a filling is a one-appointment procedure that takes an hour or less. Larger fillings or multiple fillings can take longer or be handled in separate appointments. 

Dr. Boukadoum starts the appointment by administering a local anesthetic to numb the treatment area to keep you comfortable during the procedure. 

If you’re having a cavity filled, she first removes the decay and then cleans the area of any bacteria or lingering debris. If the treatment area is close to the tooth’s root, she may insert a liner to protect the tooth’s pulp layer. 

Dr. Boukadoum completes the process by placing the filling material, and finishes off the procedure with a little cleaning and polishing.

For composite fillings, the steps leading up to placing the filling are the same, but the filling process is bonded in layers. She applies the first layer of filling and then cures or hardens it with a special light. 

Dr. Boukadoum repeats the layering and curing steps until the correct amount of filing is applied. In the final step, she molds and shapes the material so it performs and looks like what your natural tooth once did.

If you need a filling and want to know what type of filling is right for you, contact us today by using the online booking tool to request an appointment, or call our office in the Midtown West neighborhood of New York City at 212-333-3200.

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