Repairing decayed or damaged teeth
If any of your teeth have cavities, chips or cracks, you should see a dentist as soon as possible to discuss treatments. Damaged teeth are more vulnerable to tooth decay and infections. They can also be painful.
At Sydney Park Dental, we offer restoratives (fillings) to treat cavities and other tooth damage. Our dentists will examine your mouth, remove the decayed or damaged part of your tooth and fill it with a filling material of your choice. We’ll also give you advice to help prevent the need for fillings in the future.
When you come in for an appointment at our Erskineville dental clinic, we’ll explain the pros and cons of different types of fillings and everything you need to know about the procedure, so you can make a fully informed decision. We may also recommend other restoration options.
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Do I need a filling?
If a tooth is damaged or worn down, this can make it weaker and more fragile. A filling can restore a tooth’s former strength and appearance. You could benefit from a filling if your tooth looks damaged, feels painful, is sensitive to hot and cold, or if food tends to get trapped in the tooth after you eat.
Most cavities are caused by tooth decay. This happens when bacteria in plaque produce acids that erode the hard enamel of the tooth. Teeth can also be damaged by injuries, biting something hard or grinding your teeth.
If a tooth is too severely damaged for a filling, our dentists may recommend inlays/onlays or a crown. We may also recommend a root canal treatment if there’s a risk your tooth is infected.
What are the different types of fillings?
We offer several types of fillings at our Erskineville dental clinic. We’ll explain the differences and help you to choose the right option for your needs.
Also called silver fillings, these metal fillings contain a mixture of silver, tin, copper and a small amount of mercury. Amalgam fillings have been used for over 100 years and are still a popular choice for their strength and longevity, which can make them a good option for the back chewing teeth. However, some people don’t like their metallic appearance and may prefer a tooth-coloured filling.
A modern alternative to metal amalgam fillings, tooth-coloured ‘white’ fillings are made from a composite resin that includes glass and plastic. As these fillings are a close match for natural teeth, they’re less visible in the mouth and may be preferred for the front teeth in particular. However, they’re less strong than metal fillings and won’t usually last as long.
Glass ionomer cement (GIC) fillings
GIC fillings are another option for tooth-coloured restorations, although they may not be as close a match to your natural tooth colour as composite fillings. They’re mainly used for children’s fillings, as they require less time in the dentist’s chair, or to repair cavities close to the gums. Although weaker than other types of fillings, they release fluoride which can help to strengthen the tooth.
Inlays & onlays
If your tooth is more severely damaged or there isn’t enough structure remaining to support a filling, we may recommend inlays or onlays. These indirect fillings are made outside the mouth from composite resin, porcelain or gold and are bonded to your tooth to restore its function and appearance in a similar way to a crown. Inlays lie within the chewing surface of a tooth, while onlays may extend over the entire surface.
How are fillings placed?
When you make an appointment at Sydney Park Dental, we’ll discuss your symptoms and give you a complete oral health assessment. This will include the use of x-rays to determine whether a filling or other treatment may be needed.
If you choose to have a filling, we’ll numb the part of the mouth being treated using a local anaesthetic, then remove the decayed or damaged portion of the tooth and prepare it for a filling. We’ll clean and disinfect the cavity and place the filling material inside. After the tooth has been filled, we’ll trim and polish the restoration to its finished appearance.
If you’re having a composite filling, we’ll use a UV light to harden the resin after each layer is applied.
If you’re having inlays or onlays, these will require two or more appointments, as we’ll take impressions of your tooth which are used to manufacture your restorations at an external laboratory. We’ll then check that they’re the right fit and bond them into place.
How can I look after my filling?
The strength of your filling will depend on its location in your mouth and the material it’s made from, with amalgam fillings being the most durable. We’ll advise you about any foods that should be avoided to prevent damaging the filling. If your filling does get damaged, you should contact us immediately.
You should also maintain good oral hygiene to lower your risk of tooth decay and prevent the need for more fillings in the future. We advise brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing every day and avoiding food or drink high in sugar.
What are the risks?
Your tooth may feel more sensitive to pressure and temperature for a short time after a filling is placed. You won’t normally feel any pain, but if you do, this may be managed with pain relief medication.
A small number of people (around 1% of the population) may be allergic to the mercury in amalgam fillings. If you think you might be having an allergic reaction to your filling, or you’re experiencing any other pain or discomfort, contact our clinic to make an emergency appointment.
How much do fillings cost?
The cost of filling treatments ranges from $155-$500. This depends on the size, location and type of filling you choose, with amalgam fillings being cheaper than composite fillings.
We can give you a quote after we’ve been able to examine your mouth. Find out more about our finance options.