## Our Canterbury dentists discuss the various options available, along with their pros and cons

Most of us will probably have at least one filling in our life and few of us will have looked after our teeth as well as we should have done as children. After all, the lure of the sweetshop is usually too strong for anyone of a young age!

As fillings are widely used where a tooth has become decayed and a cavity formed, we thought that it would be useful to take a look at the various types of filling materials that can be used, and the advantages and disadvantages of each of them.

### Amalgam Fillings

This is probably the most well known filling and was first used in the early 1800s. It is fair to say then that it must have something good going for it, given the length of time it has been used in dentistry. Indeed, it is widely used due to the fact that it is an extremely strong and durable material that is made from a combination of metals. A filling using this material should enable the patient to eat most foods afterwards due to its strength and longevity.

Amalgam fillings are not without their negatives though. It is a dark material that is easily seen once the tooth is exposed. Not only that but it also shrinks a little over time, often leaving tiny gaps around the edges that bacteria can enter and cause further decay. Finally, one of the materials used to make amalgam is mercury. This is a toxic substance in isolation but has been deemed safe in this form. Some patients are not comfortable about this however and may choose to have the tooth coloured fillings that we offer at Bradley and Partners Dental & Implant Clinic instead.

### White teeth fillings

These fillings are becoming more popular as they become more widely known. Although they have been around for some time, earlier types were effective from an aesthetic point of view, but often lacked the strength needed for larger filings or fillings on the rear teeth that do a lot of grinding of food. They are now much stronger and can be used to fill a wider range of cavities.

The material can be produced so that it matches the shade of your other teeth, making your filling blend in well when you smile. White fillings do not shrink and also generally require less of the natural tooth to be removed. Where your Canterbury dentist feels that this may not be the most appropriate material, we will discuss other options with you.

### Gutta Percha

Gutta Percha is made from the sap of the Percha tree that is found in the Malaysia/Indonesia region. It is not widely used in dentistry except in the case of root canal treatment. Once the cleaning of the hollow canals has been carried out, Gutta Percha is used to seal the tooth, due to its expansive qualities which help to prevent reinfection. In most cases, the tooth will then be completed with a cap or crown.

### Inlays and onlays

We mentioned earlier that sometimes white fillings are not suitable on some occasions, and in particular, large cavities on the rear teeth. Whilst these could sometimes be filled using amalgam, this would leave the patient with highly visible fillings. Instead, we might suggest that onlays or inlays could be used instead. These are similar to a crown in that they are made from porcelain from impressions that we take of the cavity. They are then used to ‘infil’ the cavity, rather than being placed on top as a crown would. Inlays and onlays offer a high degree of strength as well as looking natural.

### GI (glass ionomer) fillings

GI fillings are rarely used as it is a weak material. It is virtually never used to actually fill a tooth but can be effective when acting as a sealant on a non biting area of the tooth such as at the neck. Where gums have receded it can be used to protect the exposed part of the tooth root. As it contains fluoride, it also helps to protect the tooth as well.

Fillings are not the only way that a tooth can be restored, although they are one of the ones most commonly used. Crowns often provide a better option where there is significant damage to a tooth and even veneers can be used where chips and cracks of the teeth have formed.

You can be sure that when you visit Bradley and Partners Dental & Implant Clinic, you will be guided towards the most appropriate treatment by our experienced dentists. If you would like to make an appointment with us, you can call us at our Canterbury dental clinic on **01227 463529**.

34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o 34o lisa183 lisa184 lisa185 lisa186 lisa187 lisa188 lisa189 lisa190 lisa191 lisa192 lisa193 lisa194 lisa195 lisa196 lisa197 lisa198 lisa199 lisa200 lisa201 lisa202 lisa203 lisa204 lisa205 lisa206 lisa207 lisa208 lisa209 lisa210