As the name suggests, dental fillings are used to fill an area of a tooth that has been removed due to decay. When treated for a cavity, a dentist will isolate the tooth area that has decayed and remove it. This leaves a portion of the tooth vulnerable to even further decay. A dental filling is then added to protect the area from future damage. Yet, there are several different types of dental fillings used by dentists. Knowing the benefits of the different kinds of fillings is vital to understanding which one is best for you. Currently, the materials used for dental fillings include composite resin, silver amalgam, gold, ceramic, and glass ionomer.
Here is an in-depth look at the different types of dental fillings currently available:
Composite Resin Fillings
As far as aesthetics are concerned, composite resin fillings can be very closely matched to the natural color of the surrounding teeth, making them an ideal choice for dental procedures involving visible teeth. Composite resin fillings also bond exceptionally well to the tooth's structure, providing superior support during eating and other activities involving the mouth. Composite resin can also be utilized to repair cracks and chips. In addition to composite resin fillings' versatility, it also requires the minimal removal of tooth structure compared to other types of dental fillings.
Silver Amalgam Fillings
There are several advantages to using silver amalgam dental fillings. A silver filling has an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years, outlasting composite resin fillings. Silver fillings are also highly durable and can easily handle the force of chewing. Finally, silver fillings are relatively inexpensive and cost less than other filling alternatives. One drawback to silver amalgam fillings is the inability to match the material to tooth color.
Gold fillings are a superior choice when it comes to dental fillings. They have exceptional durability, often lasting longer than 15 years. Gold fillings are resistant to corrosion and can withstand the force of chewing. Many patients also prefer the color of gold to that of commonly used silver fillings. However, gold fillings are very expensive, often costing more than ten times the price of other filling material alternatives.
Ceramic Fillings (Porcelain)
The main component in most ceramic fillings is porcelain which is less susceptible to staining than composite resin fillings. Ceramic fillings can also closely match the color of the surrounding teeth, making them a better aesthetic choice than silver or gold fillings. Porcelain-based ceramic fillings have an average lifespan of approximately 15 years and are comparable to gold in cost.
Glass ionomer fillings consist of both acrylic and glass, which bond to create this unique ionomer. This material is used explicitly for fillings below the gum line and in small children. Drilling is still required for this material, yet glass ionomer fillings can release fluoride in the tooth area they cover, offering additional protection against future decay. This material is considerably weaker than other alternative filling materials and has an average lifespan of fewer than five years. New advancements in this material’s design are leading to a longer lifespan and increased durability.
Choosing the Right Dental Filling for Your Teeth
Choosing the best type of dental filling material is essential for your oral health. Your dentist will assist you in picking the suitable filling material for your circumstances. Whether you use gold, silver, ceramic, or composite resin, be assured that with proper care and regularly scheduled visits with your dentist, your fillings will provide you with years of protection against decay and damage.
Bloom Dental of Arlington is a leading provider of dental services in Arlington and the surrounding area. We perform a wide range of dental services, including cosmetic, restorative, and pediatric dentistry. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!