Nothing is better than your natural teeth.
Do i need a filling?
Fillings are often used to replace parts of a missing tooth, caused by either a chip in the tooth, or tooth decay.
Tooth decay damage and weaken teeth.
It happens to almost all of us. And its caused by bacteria, which feed on sugars that slowly eat their way into teeth. A bit like what termites do to wood.
Choosing the right material to fill the hole is perhaps the most important factor in preventing tooth fracture and further tooth loss and costs.
Two materials are used; COMPOSITE RESIN (plastic), best when used in small holes, and CERAMIC, best in moderate sized holes.
Its best to treat tooth decay, BEFORE any symptoms present. If a tooth is painful, it usually means the hole is rather deep, which may mean its too late to save.
When tooth decay is very deep, the tooth may become extremely painful and require a root canal. Learn more HERE.
In the case of a small cavity/hole, Composite Resin or white fillings maybe used. This is an affordable and quick solution, done in a single visit.
Where there is
moderate loss of tooth structure
(40-60%), composite is not recommended, but rather a CERAMIC filling.
Ceramic is 10-30x's stronger than composite (plastic) and better protects the tooth from fracture and further tooth decay. It therefore helps avoid future costly dental treatment.
Where there is a
significant loss of tooth structure (>60%),
the tooth is prone to breaking and requires a crown to protect it from fracture. This gives it the best chance of survival and can last from 8 and 12 years.
Can i just replace my fillings in
The main reason is that decay seeps in under the filling and rots away more of the tooth. Each time you replace a filling you take some tooth away with it too. If teeth were large structures perhaps this wouldn't be an issue. But teeth are small- an average tooth width is only 1cm.
Now a hole that was 40-60% the size of the tooth is now 70% or 80%. With only 20% of the tooth structure remaining, theres hardly any tooth left. The chances that a tooth requires a root canal and a crown is rather high now. Adding further to the cost of treatment.
So in short, the cost and the amount of dental visits required will always be greater if you choose suboptimal treatment and anticipate failure.
Its always best to do the recommended treatment for the tooth from the beginning, not the cheapest.