When a filling is required, there are a variety of different materials available to suit individual needs.
Composite ‘Tooth Coloured’ Restorations
Composite restorations have been used in dentistry for over 50 years, and have grown from strength to strength with the development of bonding materials. These fillings are matched to your own tooth colour, and bonded with adhesive to create a strong, aesthetically pleasing restoration. They take longer to place than amalgam restorations, and require significantly more moisture control, but they ‘set’ immediately, so can be used straight away. Composite fillings usually require less tooth structure to be removed before the filling is placed – which means less of that dental drill!
Composite fillings tend to wear faster than amalgam fillings, although this varies from patient to patient. If you are aware you have a bruxing (grinding) habit, there may be other materials that would provide more protection for your teeth.
Composite fillings are also more prone to staining with frequent or prolonged exposure to staining agents, such as tea, coffee, or red wine – but can usually be polished up at your routine check-up.
The most well-known and formerly most commonly used is Amalgam. Amalgam restorations have been used in dentistry for over 100 years and have been highly successful – the material is easy to use and lasts well. The dark cloud over amalgam for the last few years for both patients and dentists has been the concern over its mercury content. While the general scientific consensus is that Amalgam is safe to use, we do keep ourselves up to date with current guidance regarding its use. In keeping with new UK legislation, we have discontinued the use of amalgam on pregnant or breastfeeding women and children under 15 years old. If you wish to have an amalgam restoration placed, please discuss your options with your dentist – the material is still available at The Briars for any patient who needs it.
Estimated Cost: from £120
Time Scale: from 20 minutes – teeth can normally be restored in one appointment.
This is a very minor restoration designed for prevention, and will usually be placed by your dental hygienist. A fissure sealant is a thin layer of protective material placed on the top surface of a tooth to help avoid a cavity forming. Every tooth is different, and some develop with very deep groves, which make them difficult to clean, and prone to decay – fissure sealants can help to fill these groves and make cleaning easier. Sealants can be placed ln both adults and children.
Estimated Cost: from £27
Time Scale: treatment can usually be carried out during routine appointments.
Glass Ionomer Cement (GIC)
GIC can be used for many different restorations, but is most often used as a temporary filling. GIC can be placed straight into a cavity with no decay present, and shaped to restore a tooth to its normal form. Many of the GIC materials we have at The Briars are fluoride releasing – which can help to strengthen broken teeth, and help prevent further decay. GIC is not as hard wearing as other restorative materials, and is vulnerable to acid erosion.
Estimated Cost: from £60
Time Scale: from 20 minutes – teeth will normally be restored during an emergency appointment if necessary.