Treatment of a cavity or an area of tooth decay is a routine duty of dentists. It begins with cleaning out the part of the affected tooth, leaving an empty space or a hole. Space is later filled out by synthetic materials to protect the tooth from further decay.
“There are many types of filling materials available today”, New York Total Dental in Manhattan affirms, and most dental fillings consist of “a mixture of resin infused with tiny glass fibers for strength and durability.”
There are five types of filling materials used to fill in a hole where a cavity has been removed. Read on to find some interesting information that will be helpful for you to know the different types of dental fillings along with the pros and cons of each.
Gold fillings are not pure gold, but they are some of the most long-lasting (can last more than two decades) dental fillings available. They are the most expensive ones and may cost you six and eight times more than amalgam or other types of fillings.
- Strength – Can withstand strong chewing forces
- Durability – Doesn’t corrode and lasts at least 10 to 15 years
- Aesthetics – Some patients find them aesthetically more appealing than amalgam (silver) fillings
- Additional Office Visits – They require two or more office visits to the place
- Expense – They usually cost up to 10 times higher than the cost of amalgam or other types of dental fillings
Like cast gold, amalgam fillings are also not made up of pure silver, but they are actually composed of a mixture of silver, mercury, tin, and copper. They have been in the market for over 150 years due to their strength and long-life. They are very noticeable due to their color and tend to darken over time (because of chemical reactions between metals (silver/copper) with the oxygen).
- Strength – Like cast gold, they can also withstand strong chewing forces
- Durability – Lasts at least a decade to 15 years
- Expense – They are the least expensive ones
- Discoloration – Silver fillings can produce a grayish hue to the surrounding tooth
- Poor Aesthetics – Amalgam fillings don’t match the color of your natural teeth and look unreal
- Cracks and Fractures – Although they are strong, amalgam fillings can cause the tooth to crack or fracture due to the seasonal expansion of metals or in reaction to cold and hot diets.
- Allergic Reactions – A small percentage of people are allergic to the metals (especially mercury) present in them
Tooth-Colored Composite Fillings
They are made of powdered glass and acrylic resin. Unlike amalgam and cast gold fillings, they can be colored to match your teeth. This amazing property makes them one of the most popular choices. They are not strong enough, though, and can’t take the greatest chewing pressure.
- Bonding To Tooth Structure – They provide further support to the tooth by chemically bonding with it
- Aesthetics – The color of the composite fillings can be closely matched to the natural color of your existing teeth. Therefore, a majority of people use them in visible parts of teeth
- Versatility In Uses – Composite fillings can also be used to fix worn, chipped, or broken teeth.
- Lack Of Durability – Composite fillings have a short life span and they wear out sooner than amalgams (may only last 5 years)
- Chipping – Depending on location, they can chip off the tooth
- Increased Chair Time – Although they don’t require multiple office visits, they can take up to 20 minutes longer than other dental fillings due to the process to apply the composite material.
- Expense – They are less costly than cast gold, but cost up to twice the price of amalgams
They are mostly made of porcelain. Like composite fillings, they are also tooth-colored and can be easily matched with the existing color of your teeth.
- Stain-Resistant – They are more resistant to staining than composite material
- Long-Lasting – Like cast gold and silver fillings, ceramics can also last more than 15 years
More Brittle – They are hard, but liable to break easily.
Expense – Ceramics are nearly as expensive as cast gold.
These are made of silicate glass-powder and acrylic. They are typically used for fillings in the front teeth or as cement for inlay fillings.
- Flexible – They are flexible and can be used on baby teeth.
- Restorative Material – They can be used when the decay extends into the root of the tooth
- Poor Aesthetics – Glass ionomer fillings don’t match the color of teeth as closely.
- Short Life Span – They might only last around five years.
You may or may not always have a choice to choose the type of dental filling, therefor, it is advised to consult a qualified dentist who will help you decide the best option for you.