The process of removing decayed tooth material and replacing it with artificial material, called a dental filling, has been a successful way to fight against cavities for thousands of years. A cavity typically occurs when acid wears away the tooth structure and creates a hole in the enamel. Cavities are often painful, but they can…
What Are the Recommended Materials for a Dental Filling?
A dental filling may be necessary to restore your smile if you have a chipped, cracked, or decayed tooth. When patients are presented with the various types of material options, they often become overwhelmed. By understanding the different dental filling material options available, you can better understand why your dentist may recommend a certain type.
The different types of dental fillings
The two main types of dental fillings are amalgam and composite. Glass ionomer, gold, and porcelain fillings may also be options. This review highlights what makes each material option unique and the pros and cons of each type, to help patients decide on their ideal treatment option.
Amalgam filling, also called silver fillings, combine metal alloy and mercury. They are predominantly used for teeth in the back of the mouth that are less visible and used more for chewing. Amalgam fillings are strong and durable. When cared for properly, they generally last 15 to 20 years. They are not as aesthetically pleasing as composite fillings.
Composite fillings, also called tooth-colored fillings, are made of composite resin. These filings are used mainly for visible teeth in the front of the mouth that are not used as much for chewing and crushing food. The main benefit of the composite filling is that they are aesthetically pleasing, closely matching the shade of natural teeth. While durable, they do not provide the same level of longevity as amalgam fillings.
Glass ionomer fillings are far less common than composite fillings or amalgam fillings. They are much weaker and subsequently, applied typically to baby teeth or non-biting surfaces of permanent teeth. They do, however, closely resemble the natural color of teeth, and they are easy for the dentist to place with little risk of complications.
Gold fillings are less common than amalgam or composite, but they have notable benefits and are considered underrated by many dentists. First and foremost, they offer excellent strength and can withstand pressure while chewing. They can also last for beyond a decade. Of course, the notable drawback is that they are not tooth-colored, so they are primarily recommended for molars and premolars. They are typically more expensive as well.
Porcelain fillings are less utilized because they are more expensive than amalgam and composite fillings and do not provide the same level of durability as gold fillings. The most notable benefit of porcelain fillings is that they blend in with natural teeth well and are relatively durable for front teeth. In many instances, porcelain veneers can last 10 to 15 years.
Find out which dental filling material is right for you
We encourage you to visit our office for a consultation if you feel that you may need a dental filling to restore the health, function, and appearance of your teeth. Receiving prompt care for damaged or decayed teeth is important to prevent issues from worsening and requiring more extensive dental care.
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