Tooth sensitivity or pain is often a symptom of tooth cavities, decay, or trauma. Receiving prompt care is essential to repair and save the tooth from further damage. Fortunately, visiting your dentist regularly can help identify and treat dental problems on time.
To treat cavities, the dentist will likely recommend dental fillings. Before the procedure, our dentist will examine and take X-rays of the teeth to determine the extent of the damage. If the damage is significant and the tooth’s pulp is infected, the dentist can recommend a root canal to remove the damage.
Next, they will numb you to prevent pain. Next, the dentist will remove the damaged or decayed parts of the tooth. It leaves behind a hollow space. The space is filled with a filling material. This guide explains the different materials for fillings, their benefits, and their disadvantages.
There are several types of dental fillings. Our dentist near you will help you select suitable material for your filling. These can include:
Silver amalgams are among the most popular and widely used materials for filling. The filling contains an alloy of metals such as Cooper, tin, silver, and mercury (make 50% of the mixture). The metallic alloy makes the filling highly durable and strong. With proper oral care and habits, silver amalgam can last more than 15 years.
Silver amalgam is ideal for back tooth restoration thanks to its strong and durable structure, as it can withstand the great forces of chewing. It’s also relatively cheaper than tooth-colored fillings like porcelain.
Silver amalgam fillings also come with downsides. Perhaps the key disadvantage is the poor aesthetics from the highly visible color of metals. Similarly, silver amalgam can cause teeth discoloration over time. Also, there are health concerns about the safety of mercury ingredients and the filling response to temperature changes. Some patients also complain about allergies.
Composite fillings are popular due to their tooth-colored nature. The fillings are made from a composite resin bonded into the tooth when filing the cavity. Composite fillings match the shade of your natural teeth, offering great aesthetics.
Another benefit of composite fillings is that it requires less tooth-shaving than amalgam fillings, preserving more natural teeth. It’s relatively strong and resists staining pretty well. They are also cheaper than alternative tooth-colored fillings like porcelain. However, they are more expensive than amalgam fillings.
On the downside, a composite filling isn’t as strong and long-lasting as other fillings. On average, they last for 7 – 10 years. Similarly, they can’t be whitened or bleached if they get stained.
You can consider gold fillings if you want a highly sturdy and long-lasting filling option. These fillings contain alloys of gold and other metals like copper. Gold fillings won’t corrode or discolor your natural teeth, unlike amalgam fillings. With proper care, these filings can last for longer than 15 years.
As far as aesthetics are concerned, it depends on the patient’s preferences. Some patients like the gold color of gold fillings, while others don’t.
On the downside, gold fillings are almost seven times more expensive than amalgam fillings. Similarly, placing gold fillings requires more than one dental appointment. You might even need to get a temporary filling.
Ceramic or porcelain fillings are the strongest and most durable tooth-colored fillings. These fillings are made from porcelain, making them very strong and long-lasting. Thanks to their great aesthetics, they are customized to match the shade of your teeth. Similarly, ceramic fillings resist wear and staining better than natural teeth. They can last for 15 or more years.
Like gold fillings, ceramic fillings require more than one dental visit to install, and they are also more expensive than amalgam and composite resin.
These filings contain a special type of glass material and acrylic. Glass Ionomer fillings repair teeth among young children. Their greatest advantage is releasing fluoride, which strengthens and protects the teeth against cavities.
On the downside, these fillings are significantly weak, making them highly susceptible to fractures. On average, these fillings last for about 2 – 5 years. They don’t also match the shade of the natural teeth as composite fillings.