Dental filling materials are used to repair cavities and other problems caused by tooth decay. In most cases, the material chosen for fillings is based on a variety of characteristics, such as durability, cost, ease of use, and aesthetics. Many dentists will also take into account any sensitivities or allergies the patient may have before making a recommendation. Of all the available options, composite (tooth-colored) fillings are often the most widely recommended option due to their versatile nature.
The type of material used for restoration depends on many factors, including the extent and location of decay, damage from decay, as well as cost and insurance coverage availability. Ultimately it will be at the discretion of your dentist to recommend the best material for you depending on these variables. However, dental filling materials have come a long way over the years in providing safe and fast-acting treatments that can last many years if appropriately cared for.
Learn Which Type of Filling is Best for You
There are a variety of dental filling materials that your dentist can choose from to restore your tooth health. Gold, silver amalgam, and porcelain are some of the more traditional options available. Let’s look at each option more thoroughly.
Cast Gold Fillings
Gold fillings are ideal for patients seeking dental work. They boast greater durability over other filling materials, often lasting more than fifteen years. This extended lifetime means that gold fillings are an excellent investment in oral health. Additionally, these fillings are corrosion-resistant and capable of chewing without damage or dislodging.
Unfortunately, the price tag on gold fillings can be quite high; they tend to cost more than ten times as much as alternatives.
Amalgams Otherwise Known as Silver Fillings
Silver amalgam fillings are a popular choice for those seeking affordable and long-lasting options. Silver amalgam, sometimes called a “silver filling,” is an alloy made of liquid mercury and an alloy made up of tin, silver, silver alloys, and zinc. This material is then injected into a prepared cavity on the tooth, taking the form of a filling to act as restorative therapy for damaged teeth.
Studies have indicated that mercury amalgam, commonly used as dental fillings for decades, may have health consequences such as mercury poisoning. As a result, some dentists now focus on using more holistic filling methods.
Read more here: Is Mercury-Free Dentistry Right for You?
In addition to its aesthetically pleasing qualities and long-term durability, composite resin fillings can also effectively repair cracks and chips in teeth. They’re a great option for protecting damaged areas while restoring a natural appearance. Plus, they help strengthen weakened or broken teeth necessary for preventing future damage from occurring. By providing such durable protection against decay, composite resins are an invaluable solution for optimal oral health.
Glass ionomer fillings are a unique and versatile material that can be used in dentistry for fillings below the gum line and in small children’s teeth. They typically involve mixing glass particles with acrylic acid to create a tougher resin mixture that bonds firmly to the tooth. Drilling is required when using this material. However, it also has the added benefit of releasing fluoride directly into the area of the filling, providing protection from future decay. While it is considered much weaker than some alternative materials, new technology, and advancements have increased their lifespan and durability, often lasting up to five years or more before needing such replacements.
Porcelain Ceramic Fillings
Ceramic fillings are a great choice for those looking to maintain a natural look in their mouth. These fillings consist of porcelain, which is essentially a glass-like material that is not susceptible to staining as resin fillings. These types of restorations also closely match the color of surrounding teeth, thereby maintaining the healthy and pleasing aesthetics of one’s smile. With porcelain-based ceramic fillings, patients can enjoy an average lifespan of roughly 15 years. Compared to gold or amalgam (silver) fillings, ceramic fillings are comparable in cost but vastly superior in appearance and long-term stability.
As you can see, there are many different types of fillings available. However, some materials are healthier than others. When discussing the various kinds of filling options with your dentist, make sure to clarify what options are covered by insurance.
Whether you need a replacement filling or have other dental concerns, the Ultimate Smile Design team will discuss the best options for dental restoration and the prevention of future decay. To make an appointment contact us.