Dental fillings are the go-to option when it comes to dealing with tooth decay. These materials are used to fill up the holes created by tooth decay after the decayed material has been removed from the tooth. Fillings can also be used to restore a cracked or broken tooth that has been damaged by trauma or bad habits like tooth grinding and nail biting.
The different types of materials used for dental fillings
There are a variety of materials that can be used to fill up the holes created by cavities. Some of these include gold, silver, porcelain, amalgam, plastics, glass ionomers and composite resins. The location of the damaged tooth and the severity of the decay, along with the patient's insurance plan, the cost of the dental fillings and the oral professional's recommendation often determine the kind of filling material that is best for each situation.
Let us take a closer look at the different types of filling materials:
These have historically been the most popular type of fillings. These materials are made from a mixture of mercury, copper, zinc tin and silver. The mercury typically makes up about 50 percent of the alloy. Amalgam fillings are the least expensive materials that can be used to make fillings, but it is now known that mercury is a toxic substance, and that pushes some patients away.
Amalgam fillings are mostly used to restore the teeth at the back of a person's mouth, and they can last up to 10 years when properly maintained.
2. Composite resins
These types of dental fillings are increasingly popular nowadays. Patients tend to prefer them because these composite have the same color as natural teeth. Teeth restored with composites blend in with the others, making it impossible for others to detect that the patient has gotten some work done.
Composite filling materials are made from a mixture of fine glass particles and plastics. Composites are most often used to restore the teeth that are visible when a person smiles or opens their mouth.
Composite resins can be directly or indirectly applied to a tooth. During a direct application, the dentist adds the soft material to the tooth after roughening it with phosphoric acid. The material is molded into the desired shape, then it is hardened using an ultraviolet light.
During an indirect application — usually used for inlays — the dentist will take an impression of the patient's mouth. Then it is sent to a lab where the mold is used to create an impression of the tooth. The dentist then cements this mold onto the affected tooth.
Composites are a more expensive alternative to amalgam fillings, but they are a cheaper alternative to gold ones. These devices can last up to five years when properly maintained.
These are typically made from a mixture of gold and other metals. They are often used to make onlays and inlays. Gold fillings are the most expensive type of fillings a patient can get, and they can be up to 10 times more expensive than their amalgam counterparts. However, gold fillings are also the most durable, lasting over 15 years with good oral hygiene
Contact one of our dentists to learn more about your options when it comes to dental fillings.
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