Dental fillings are restorative devices used to repair damaged or decayed teeth enamels. They seal the damaged part of the tooth, preventing bacterial entry and further damage or decay. Consequently, your Pearland general and cosmetic dentistry provider may recommend a filling to restore weak, depleted, cracked, or broken teeth. They drill out the damaged part of the tooth and then insert the filling material. And while you may not have a say over how the filling is inserted, you can usually choose its material. Here are your five options and the types of dental fillings available today.
Amalgam Fillings (Silver Fillings)
Popularly known as silver fillings, amalgam fillings are made of different materials like tin, copper, mercury, and silver. They have a silver-like hue for which they are named and were previously the most popular filling option. They remain the most affordable option due to their inexpensive initial cost and durability. Typically, the amalgam material is double the weight of its individual components, which explains its sturdy and durable quality. In fact, amalgam fillings can last up to 12 years. They are, however, less preferred for restoring front teeth because their metal hue can be unattractive.
Composite fillings recently took over from silver fillings as the most popular filling type. Also called direct fillings, they are usually applied to the tooth directly. They are made from a plastic-resin combination that is tooth-colored and has the consistency of an adhesive. Your dentist models a composite filling into a cleared cavity that exposes it to blue light for curing. Due to the pliability of their material, composite fillings can be made to resemble your natural teeth. This makes them a more attractive alternative to amalgam fillings. However, composite fillings cost more than their silver counterparts and require more frequent replacement.
As the name suggests, gold fillings are made primarily from gold. A typical gold filling contains 75 percent gold and about 25 percent palladium, silver, or other minor metals. These fillings are rare and the most expensive of all filling options. Additionally, their installation requires several visits to the dentist. In terms of durability, gold’s noncorrosive and strong qualities mean these fillings often last 20 years or longer.
Ceramic dental fillings are made from medical-grade ceramic materials like porcelain. They are usually fused to your tooth chemically to increase their strength and preserve your natural bite force. Like composite fillings, ceramic fillings can be made to resemble your natural teeth. They are also costlier than silver fillings but less likely to wear down and discolor over time.
Glass ionomer fillings are made of acrylic and glass. They are the preferred filling material for children because they allow young teeth to continue developing. Additionally, glass ionomer fillings disperse fluoride, protecting the teeth from decay. However, they are weaker than other options and require replacement every few years.
Treat Tooth Cavities with Dental Fillings Today
Dental fillings are an excellent way to restore damaged or decayed teeth. When teeth are damaged, your dentist cleans out the decay and fills the resulting hole with a dental filling of your choice. As you can see, there are several types of dental fillings designed to cater to different aesthetic and economic preferences. You can discuss the different options and their merits and demerits with your dentist.