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How to know if I need a dental filling?

Dental Fillings are the most common type of dental restoration used to replace sections of teeth that are missing, damaged or decayed. While traditional dental materials like gold, amalgam, porcelain, and composite successfully restore teeth; recent advances in dental technology have made a wider and improved selection of restorative choices available. Some of the newest state-of-the-art filling materials, including ceramic and the latest composite materials, are not only strong and durable, they offer the most aesthetically pleasing and natural looking results.



These are the signs that you may notice in case you have a cavity or you need a dental filling:


-Dental floss may get stuck or tear in the same place again and again.

-You feel a dark hole in your tooth, you can even feel it with your tongue.

-Food always gets stuck between the same teeth.

-You may need to replace a filling that is cracked, broken or missing.

-You have a chipped or broken tooth.



When we talk about symptoms we refer to those sensations you can experience. When you need a filling most commonly you feel pain that may be manifested in these ways:


-You feel pain when you chew or bite

- You feel throbbing or acute pain

- Sensitivity to cold, heat, pressure or sweets. 

How long does a dental filling last?

There isn’t only one type of dental filling that it’s the best for everyone. The type of filling more suitable for you would be determined by your dentist, since it depends on individual characteristics of each patient. Nowadays there are many types of dental fillings, the most common are:


Dental amalgam fillings (black fillings): These fillings are very durable. However, due to their dark color, they are most frequently used in the upper jaw or in posterior teeth of the lower jaw. After applying this type of fillings, you mustn’t eat during the first two hours so that materials integrate properly.


Dental composite fillings (white fillings): These are tooth colored fillings which are placed in the most visible areas to maintain a natural look. After their placement, you are allowed to eat almost immediately. However, a composite filling is not the most suitable material for extensive damages, because they may break in time. Besides, coffee, tea and cigarettes can easily break composite fillings since they are not very durable.


As we have mentioned before, amalgam fillings have a longer useful life and are more resistant to hard food, sticky food, chewing gum, and so on. These fillings can last approximately 10 years if the tooth that it’s in doesn’t break. On the other hand, white fillings can last from 3 to 5 years. This type of fillings it’s mostly recommended for aesthetic purposes.


Dr. Armellini received her dental degree from the Central University of Venezuela. She received an MBA from the University of Michigan and embarked on a clinical fellowship in Implantology Prosthodontics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.


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