What is a Filling?
A dental filling restores a damaged tooth caused by decay back to its optimal shape and function. Once the decay is removed, our dentists clean the affected area and fill the area with a filling material.
A filling not only restores the function of your tooth, but also helps you prevent any further decay. Materials that we use in our office are gold, percelain, a composite resin as well as an amalgam.
Types of Fillings
It’s made of a mixture of silver, tin, zinc, copper and mercury. Mercury is nearly 50% of the mixture. It’s mainly used for fillings in back teeth and lasts at least 10 years, usually longer.
Amalgam fillings are strong. They can withstand the forces of chewing. They are less costly than the alternatives. Amalgam fillings can be completed in one dental visit. They are less sensitive to moisture during the filling process than composite resin.
However, amalgam doesn’t match the color of your teeth. it can corrode or tarnish over time. This can cause discoloration where the filling meets the tooth. A traditional (non-bonded) amalgam filling does not bond with your tooth. The pocket in your tooth developed by your dentist requires undercuts or ledges to keep the filling in place. Your dentist may have to remove more of the tooth to create a secure pocket.
Some people may be allergic to mercury or be concerned about its effects. Research shows that the amount of mercury exposure from fillings is similar to what people get from other sources in the environment.
It’s made of a mixture of plastic and fine glass particles. And it’s mainly used for small and large fillings, especially in front teeth or the visible parts of teeth; also for inlays. it lasts at least five years
Your fillings or inlay will match the color of your teeth and it can be completed in one dental visit. An inlay may require additional visits. Composite fillings can bond directly to the tooth. This makes the tooth stronger than it would be with an amalgam filling. The bonding process holds the composite resin in the tooth.
However, composite resins cost more than amalgam fillings. Although composite resins have become stronger and more resistant to wear, it’s not clear whether they last as long as amalgam fillings under the pressure of chewing. The composite may shrink when placed, producing gaps between the tooth and the filling. This can lead to more cavities in areas where the filling is not making good contact with your tooth. The shrinkage is reduced when your dentist places this type of filling in thin layers.
These fillings take more time to place. That’s because they are usually placed in layers. The increased time and labor involved also contribute to the higher cost.
Indirect fillings and inlays take at least two visits to complete if your dentist is not prepared to make the inlay while you wait. Your dentist takes impressions at the first visit and places the filling or inlay at the second visit.
It’s made of gold alloy (gold mixed with other metals) and it’s mainly used for inlays and onlays, crowns. It lasts at least 15 years, usually longer.
The advantage of cast gold crowns is that it doesn’t corrode. Some people like the gold color better than the silver color of amalgam. Gold fillings are durable enough to withstand chewing forces. They last longer than all other filling materials.
However, you need to visit the dentist at least twice to receive a gold filling. At the first visit, the dentist makes an impression of your tooth and places a temporary filling. The gold filling is made from the impression. It is placed at a second visit. In addition, the cost is higher because of the high cost of gold and the work involved.
If gold and amalgam fillings are right next to each other in your mouth, an electric current can result from interactions between the metals and your saliva. This can cause discomfort, called “galvanic shock.”
It’s most commonly made of porcelain and used for inlays and onlays, crowns, veneers, implants, and orthodontic brackets. It lasts more than seven years. It costs more than composite and as much as gold, depending on the filling.
Ceramics are tooth-colored, and they’re more resistant to staining and abrasion than composite resin.
However, ceramics are more brittle than composite resin and can break. A ceramic inlay or onlay needs to be large enough to prevent it from breaking. This means that the tooth must be reduced in size to make room for the extra bulk.