How Fillings Are Done?
To repair a cavity your dentist may need to do a filling. The first step that takes place when making a filling is that your dentist may first give you “freezing” (or local anesthetic), so you do not feel any pain. Your dentist then takes out all traces of decay, shapes the hole and fills it.
Most fillings are done in two ways:
- Direct Filling – These fillings go right into the cavity, after your dentist has cleaned out the decay. Amalgam (or silver) fillings and plastic (or white) fillings are examples of direct fillings. They harden quickly. Most of the time, you will be able to have a direct filling put in place in one appointment.
- Indirect Filling – Examples of this type of filling are crowns (or caps) and inlays. They are custom made in a lab to fit your tooth. Your dentist cements the filling in place. Most indirect fillings take two or more appointments to complete.
Dental Amalgam or “Silver” Filling:
Dental amalgam fillings are sometimes called “silver” fillings. They are the most common type of filling used in Canada today. Because these fillings are silver in colour, they are used to fill back teeth. They are a mix of metals such as mercury, silver, copper and tin.
- These fillings are the least expensive type of filling.
- They last a long time.
- They are easy to put in place; because they are a direct filling, one visit to your dentist will do the job, in most cases.
- The silver colour may not appeal to people who want a “natural” look.
- Tiny amounts of mercury are released from the filling when you chew. For most people, this bit of mercury is nothing to worry about. Studies have shown that amalgam fillings do not cause illness. They have been used on people for more than 150 years.
- Health Canada advises pregnant women in need of a filling to wait until the baby is born before they go ahead with the procedure. Your dentist can suggest other kinds of fillings, if the work is urgent.
If you have concerns about your mercury or metal fillings, please talk to one of our dentists and they would be happy to discuss this with you.