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Dental filling materials have come a long way in recent years and your dentist now has a number of options to choose from when it comes to filling your cavities. While the old metal amalgam fillings are still an option, many patients are now choosing more aesthetically pleasing tooth-colored fillings made of composite resins. If you’re considering having a cavity filled, here’s what you need to know about your tooth filling options.
1. Cast Gold Fillings
Gold fillings are made from an alloy of gold, copper, zinc and other metals. They are very strong and durable, and can last for many years. Gold dental fillings are also very unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. One downside of gold fillings is that they are more expensive than other types of fillings. They also require two dental visits to place.
During the first visit, your dentist will “prep” the tooth by removing the decay and shaping the tooth. A mold or impression will then be made of the prepared tooth. This mold will be used to create your gold filling. Most importantly, gold is extremely visible, so patients usually get them in the back molars or other less-visible teeth.
2. Silver Amalgam Fillings
Silver amalgam fillings are made of a mixture of metals, including silver, tin, mercury, and copper. They are strong and durable, making them a popular choice for teeth fillings. In fact, they have been used for over 150 years. The biggest pro of silver fillings is that they are very inexpensive. They are also very durable, so they can last for many years, and they can be placed quickly and easily.
Although dental amalgam fillings are durable, they are not as strong as some of the other types of dental fillings. They can also tarnish over time, which can affect the appearance of your teeth. If you have silver dental amalgam fillings, you may also need to avoid eating certain foods (like hard candy) that can crack or chip the filling. Due to oxidisation, the silver fillings can also become dark over time.
3. Tooth-Colored Composite Fillings
Tooth-colored composite resin fillings are made of a mixture of glass or quartz filler in a resin medium that is tooth-colored. They are also sometimes called “composite” or “resin-based” fillings. Composite dental fillings are used for both front and back teeth, and they are one of the most popular dental filling materials because they can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. They are also less likely to cause any sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.
Another advantage of composite fillings is that they can be used to repair small chips or cracks in your teeth. Composite fillings can also be used to fill in gaps between your teeth. Composite fillings are very strong and durable, and can last for many years. However, tooth-colored fillings are not as strong as metal fillings and are more likely to chip or break if you bite down on something hard.
If you are considering getting a tooth-colored composite filling, be sure to talk to your dentist about all of your dental filling material options.
4. Ceramic Fillings
If you’re looking to get a filling, your dentist will likely give you the option of a ceramic filling. Ceramic fillings are made of inorganic materials and are tooth-colored, making them a popular choice for people who want their fillings to be as indistinguishable from their natural teeth as possible. Ceramic fillings are strong and durable and, with proper care, can last for many years. Ceramic fillings are also less likely to stain than other types of dental fillings.
Another advantage of ceramic filling material is that it’s less likely to irritate the gum tissues or cause tooth decay. This is because the filling materials used for ceramic fillings are smooth and polished, which helps reduce inflammation. One downside of ceramic fillings is that they can be more expensive than other types of fillings, and they may not be as strong as amalgam fillings, so they may not be the best dental filling material for people who have large cavities or who grind their teeth.
5. Glass Ionomer Fillings
Glass ionomer fillings are made from a glass and acrylic mixture. They are commonly used for small cavities or fillings in baby teeth. Glass ionomer fillings are also used as a sealant to prevent tooth decay. There are several advantages of glass ionomer fillings. They can be matched to the color of your teeth, making them less noticeable than other types of fillings. They also release fluoride, which can protect your teeth from future cavities and tooth decay.
Glass ionomer fillings also have some disadvantages. They are not as strong as other types of fillings and may not last as long. They can also be more expensive than other types of fillings. If you want to prevent tooth decay and ensure the newly-filled tooth remains strong, you must contact a dentist who helps you find the appropriate type of dental filling for your specific needs, ideally while preserving the surrounding tooth structure.
6. Indirect Fillings
An indirect dental filling is a dental restoration that is fabricated outside of the mouth by a dental professional, and then bonded or cemented into place. Indirect fillings are made from a variety of materials, including gold, ceramic, and composite resin. The main advantage of an indirect dental filling is that, because it is not made in the mouth, it can be made to fit the tooth more precisely. This results in a stronger, longer-lasting, and more aesthetically pleasing restoration.
Examples of indirect fillings are onlays, inlays, and dental crowns. However, indirect dental fillings also necessitate that more of the tooth enamel be removed, so the tooth structure remaining will have to support the filling material. This is an excellent option when there’s considerable tooth decay, but it’s not suitable for small cavities.
URBN Dental is a state-of-the-art dental clinic led by highly-skilled dentists who help you select the most effective and reliable types of fillings. We also ensure that your sound tooth structure remains, ensuring minimally invasive cavity filling. You can find our dental clinics in Uptown Houston, Midtown Houston, and Montrose – please schedule an appointment at your nearest dental clinic for cavity fillings.