When you have a small to moderate amount of tooth decay, a dental filling can help to preserve the long-term health of your tooth. As soon as your dentist diagnoses tooth decay, it’s important to schedule an appointment right away to have a cavity filled to preserve the integrity of your tooth. Although you might not look forward to having a cavity filled, the good news is that today’s patients have more choices than ever. We highlight the most common materials used for dental fillings below.
Common and Less Common Types of Dental Fillings
Like most people who need a cavity filled, you are probably the most familiar with silver amalgam fillings. It was one of the only choices available for several decades and remains popular with both patients and dentists.
The material your dentist uses to fill your cavity contains approximately 50 percent mercury with smaller amounts of zinc, tin, silver, and copper. The downside to silver amalgam fillings is that other people can spot them quite easily. This is the reason our dental practice offers tooth-colored fillings as well. If you do opt for silver amalgam fillings, you can depend on them to remain durable throughout your lifetime.
Tooth-colored fillings, which you may also hear referred to as composite or ceramic fillings, blend in with the natural shade of your teeth to enable you to conceal your dental treatment from others. One possible drawback is that this type of filling material tends to have greater bulk to it than other types. That means your dentist may need to remove a small portion of your tooth to ensure the filling stays in place. In addition to improved aesthetics, clear fillings offer the same excellent durability as fillings constructed from silver amalgam.
Although not as common, it’s sometimes possible to receive a filling with material made from glass ionomers or gold. Glass ionomers, made from glass and acrylic, are not as durable as other types and typically don’t last longer than five years. For this reason, it’s not common for our dentists to use glass ionomer fillings with adults. They are most appropriate to use with children who have decay on one or more baby teeth.
Gold fillings are not common due to the expense, challenge of placing them, and the fact that they draw more attention to a patient’s smile than other types of fillings. If you have extensive tooth decay, your dentist at C & S Dental will recommend inlays and onlays to treat the decay and save your tooth from extraction instead.
Learn More About Fillings During a Personal Consultation
At our dental practice, we always like to provide patients with as much choice as possible when completing a treatment procedure. This includes dental fillings. We encourage you to schedule an appointment to learn more about each type of filling as this will allow you to make the best choice for your situation. We will also explain each step involved with having a cavity filled. Our dentists look forward to meeting with you soon.