Types of Dental Fillings: All You Need to Know

Tooth cavities and accidents can leave your teeth with cracks that need to be repaired. This is where dental fillings play their part. They are used to repair teeth that are worn out enamel or where a dentist has removed a cavity leaving a hole in the tooth. In addition to fillings, dental sealants are also a popular solution for preventing cavities in the molars.

There are different materials used to make dental fillings. The appropriate filling for you is determined by the location and extent of the decay, the cost of filling material, your insurance coverage, and your dentist’s suggestion. This article gives all you need to know about the types of dental fillings.

types of dental fillings

Types of Dental/Cavity Fillings

Silver amalgam Fillings

Silver amalgam is the most popular material used to make dental fillings. It is a combination of zinc, mercury, copper, and tin. Silver amalgam fillings are common as they are cost-efficient, durable, and sturdy. In addition, many dentists prefer making dental fillings with silver amalgam due to their malleability.

Many patients choose other dental fillings because silver amalgam fillings are not aesthetically pleasing. The silver in the fillings is also sensitive to temperature change and oscillates, leading to cracking of the tooth. It would be best to look for a dentist who can look at the dental fillings to ensure the silver amalgam fillings have not caused cracks in your teeth.

Composite Fillings

Plastic and resin are utilized to make composite fillings. It is inserted into the softened tooth and hardened with a strong curing light. Composite fillings are an option to silver amalgam fillings as they can match your natural teeth.

Ceramic/Porcelain Fillings

Ceramic fillings are made using porcelain, durable material that is pleasing to the eye. Ceramic fillings are more expensive than composite resin fillings, but they are tooth-colored and withstand stains and abrasion better. However, ceramic filling has the disadvantage of being more brittle than composite; thus, it can only be utilized on big cavities to avoid breaking. The dentist will extend the region for the filling to accommodate the added mass.

Gold Fillings

Gold fillings are also an alloy of multiple metals like zinc, copper, silver, and platinum. The advantage of getting gold dental fillings is that they are durable. If proper hygiene is observed, the fillings can last up to twenty years. The material used to make gold fillings make purchasing one very costly. You should check in with your dentist, who can offer you a variety of dental fillings in your area, along with your budget.

Glass Ionomer

Glass ionomer fillings are made up of glass and acrylic. These filings are utilized in children whose teeth are still growing. Glass ionomer filling is formed of silicate glass powder that immediately adheres to the tooth surface. Because fluoride is a component of silicate glass powder, glass ionomer fillings have the distinct benefit of gently releasing fluoride into the surrounding region over time, helping to prevent cavities and protect your teeth.

Pros and Cons of Each Type of Filling

The advantage of silver amalgam fillings is that they are durable and can last between ten to fifteen years. Silver amalgam fillings are also strong and less expensive than composite fillings. However, one disadvantage of silver fillings is that they can destroy the tooth structure. This is because the dentist has to remove the healthy parts of the tooth to create enough room for the filling. In addition, some people get allergic reactions due to the mercury in the silver in the fillings.

Composite fillings are pleasing to look at and create a bond to the tooth structure, offering the tooth more support. Composite fillings are great for chipped, worn-out, or broken teeth. However, composite fillings take time to apply and are less durable than amalgam fillings and gold fillings.

Gold fillings are durable due to the mixture with other metals. Fillings made of gold are also cosmetically pleasing and can withstand chewing forces. However, one major drawback of gold fillings is that they are expensive and require more visits so that the dentist can install them.

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