Dental fillings are one of the most common dental procedures. Since many people require dental fillings, dentists and scientists have come up with many different ways to fix a cavity or crack. Here is a list of fillings that are available today.
Mercury/ Silver Fillings
This filling is created out of a metal alloy, called dental amalgam. The amalgam contains silver and mercury. Since mercury is toxic, these fillings were a health concern. However, it has been found there is only a small risk of the mercury actually entering the patient’s general system
Other concerns around these fillings is that a large amount of tooth has to be removed to place the filling. Despite these negative attributes, some dentists still recommend amalgam fillings for your back teeth because they are stronger than composite fillings.
Composite fillings are made of a white or translucent material to fit in with your natural teeth. They do not require as much tooth matter to be removed to be fitted in the mouth. They are placed in the mouth by use of silica and plastic material, which bonds to the tooth, making it especially secure. Composite fillings blend right in with the surrounding tooth in colour and shape, so that they are hardly noticeable and it is more difficult for plaque to build around its setting.
Fillings made out of gold and other metals are shiny, which may appeal to some patients. Its other advantages include strength. Gold and metal fillings last at least 10 years, before needing any corrections. However, they are one of the most expensive kinds of fillings.
Ceramic and Porcelain Fillings
Ceramic or porcelain fillings look similar to composite resin, but is more stain resistant. Ceramic fillings can be more abrasive than other fillings, which means the patient will be able to easily feel the filling with their tongue. Porcelain fillings are also one of the more expensive options, like gold fillings.
Glass Ionomer Filling
Glass ionomer fillings are a mixture of acrylic material and special silica. They are only used below the gum line or for pediatric dentistry. This is one of the latest filling options and has yet to grow in popularity.
The filling slowly releases fluoride into the tooth, which not only fills the gap in the tooth, but also protects it. Although this sounds very advantageous, glass ionomers have the shortest life span of all filling types; typically five years.
Indirect fillings are another new alternative that can fill holes in a tooth that were previously too large for a normal filling. In other words, they are the option between a normal filling and a dental crown.
The indirect filling process can be completed in two visits. During the first visit, your dentist will remove the decay or old filling from the tooth. Then an impression is made to record the tooth’s shape. The impression is used to develop the indirect filling. A temporary filling is placed on the prepared tooth until the indirect filling is ready.
When ready, the patient is called in for their second visit. The temporary filling is removed and the indirect filling is cemented into the tooth.
Speak to your dentist about how you want your filling to look; how it must feel; how long you want it to last; and how big your budget is and he/she will be able to recommend the best filling for you.