If you have a cavity, your dentist will likely recommend that you get a filling to stop the infection and save your tooth. There are several different types of dental fillings, but the most popular types are amalgam and composite. Your dentist may recommend a specific kind, but the final choice is yours.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each type, and you should carefully consider the cost, durability, and appearance of each before making a selection. Here is everything you need to know about types of dental fillings before your next appointment.
Types of Dental Fillings
There are several dental fillings available to patients with cavities. There are gold, porcelain, silver amalgam, ceramic, glass ionomer, and composite dental fillings. Each type has various levels of durability, and the cost varies widely.
You may not always have a choice if you have a distinctive cavity, but if you do, it is best to know the pros and cons of each type of filling.
Silver Amalgam Fillings
Silver amalgam was the most commonly used filling for many years, and they are still used in many areas of the world, including Australia. Silver fillings are inexpensive when compared to gold and composite fillings and last about 15 years.
It is also easy for dentists to install silver fillings as they do not have to worry about keeping the affected area dry and clean during the procedure. Many people have abandoned silver fillings in recent years because they do not look natural.
Some people do not like the mercury levels in amalgam fillings, but many organisations have deemed them as a safe dental restorative method.
Composite fillings are popular because they are more natural-looking than other materials. Crafted from acrylic resin and powdered glass fillers, they are used in fillings, inlays, crowns, and veneers. Some dentists also use composite to restore or repair broken teeth.
Composite fillings are a good option for those worried about the appearance of their teeth when smiling or laughing. These fillings have a better appearance, but they do not last as long as amalgam. Your dentist can customise the colour of the resin to match the shade of your teeth.
Made from porcelain, most ceramic fillings can last up to 15 years and come in white and silver variations. While ceramic fillings are durable, you must visit the dentist twice to complete the installation process. They are also more expensive than other options, such as silver amalgam.
Glass Ionomer Fillings
Made from glass materials, glass ionomer fillings match the shade of your teeth. They are a good option for those who do not like the look of silver fillings.
Glass ionomer fillings are also designed to release fluoride, reducing your chance of developing cavities in the future. However, this material is not appropriate for large cavities and are not as durable as amalgam.
Gold fillings are the most durable filling, lasting at least 20 years. However, they are expensive and typically require two visits to the dentist to install.
How Do I Choose the Right Type of Dental Filling?
You have lots of options to choose from for dental fillings. While your dentist may make a recommendation, they may let you decide. Before your appointment, you should know the pros and cons of various dental fillings.
Fillings That Look Like Your Teeth
Composite is the best choice if you want a filling material that looks like your teeth. These filings fill in small to medium cavities but are typically inappropriate for large cavities. They are also a good option for those who do not like to spend lots of time at the dentist, as composites require less drilling to install. Keep in mind that these fillings can discolour over time.
Silver amalgams are the best choice for a durable, inexpensive filling. These filings combine numerous materials such as mercury, copper, silver, and tin. Silver fillings are still used in many parts of the developing world but are less common in Australia.
Silver fillings are visible when you smile and may cause sensitivity to hot or cold foods after installation. Your dentist may recommend a silver filling if you have a cavity in a back molar because of its durability.
Fillings That Release Fluoride
The new iterations of glass ionomer fillings release fluoride, decreasing your chance of further decay. These customised fillings match the colour of your teeth and can last for up to 7 years.
However, glass ionomer fillings are not as durable as other types of dental fillings and are not recommended for teeth that do a lot of chewing. Your dentist may recommend using this material for cavities between your teeth or near your gum line.
Talk with your dentist and explain your situation so you can choose the best type of filling together.
Choose the Best Dental Filling
Do you suspect you have a cavity? There are many types of dental fillings, including silver amalgam, composite, gold, and glass ionomer. Each type has pros and cons, and your dentist can help you make the best choice. Contact Dana Street Dental today to set up an appointment with one of our dental professionals.