Dental Filling Material Options
If you develop tooth cavities, you will need to choose from a number of dental fillings to repair the tooth. Patients can consult their dentist on the appropriate treatment and materials to use for the dental restoration process. The dentist will consider the patient’s situation, including the size and location of the cavity. Other factors to consider include cosmetics, durability and cost.
Customary dental fillings
If the dentist recommends a dental restoration, knowing the available options can help the patient make an informed choice. There are a number of common tooth filling materials available for consideration.
Amalgam is the oldest option among dental fillings. The material is made from a combination of metals that includes 50% mercury mixed with copper, tin, silver or zinc. Compared to other options, amalgam fillings are the least expensive. They are also strong and durable.
Amalgam fillings have a silver appearance and tend to change color over time, which means they are conspicuous in the teeth. Although the FDA has certified that the mercury level is safe for patients above six years, it is advisable to consider other alternatives.
Composite tooth fillings are created from powdered glass and acrylic resin. They offer advantages over amalgam fillings. For example, composite dental fillings are customizable to match the color of existing teeth to make the treated tooth blend in. The composite material is popular and preferred by people who want a natural-looking set of teeth.
Nevertheless, this filling material has drawbacks. It is less durable compared to amalgam and metal-based materials. It is effective for small cavities and suitable for teeth that undergo a minimal level of pressure during chewing.
The gold filling continues as one of the most reliable and long-lasting dental materials. According to the American Dental Association, it can last for up to 20 years. However, this comes at a price since gold is one of the most expensive filling materials. The filling procedure also takes longer than composite fillings. Gold fillings stand out from the teeth and are not suitable for situations where aesthetic appeal is important.
Porcelain is one of the most natural-looking materials available. Porcelain fillings exhibit the features of natural teeth and are preferred for aesthetics. Since this material is extremely durable, porcelain is typically used on front row teeth for visual appeal. Porcelain fillings are resistant to staining but are more expensive than composite fillings. Compared to gold fillings, they are more fragile.
Resin or glass ionomer
Children get cavities too, and since their teeth are still changing, glass ionomer is the preferred option. This material is used to fill primary teeth or for tiny areas of decay. The fillings are delicate and designed to last for less than five years. The advantage of using this material is that it releases fluoride into the tooth to protect the developing tooth from decay. When used for a permanent tooth, it is placed in an area that is not subjected to high pressure from chewing.
Patients have many options when it comes to choosing dental fillings. The dentist will consider the patient’s preferences and oral health to help choose the appropriate material for the dental restoration process.
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