Different Types of Dental Fillings
Modern dentistry uses multiple types of material as dental fillings. The material is chosen based on effectiveness, ability to bind to natural enamel, and how well the material can last in your mouth. Different materials bring you different advantages.
Let’s look as the five most common types of dental fillings that you can choose from at the dentist’s:
Composite dental fillings are made from two different materials, hence the name. The filling is a combination of a resin and a plastic. The filling is mixed as a paste, which is put into the cavity, where the composite paste hardens.
Composite fillings are becoming popular because the material can significantly imitate natural enamel. This type of dental filling is quite suited to fill cavities in teeth that gets exposed when you smile. It’s not easy to tell the difference between a composite filling and the natural enamel.
Despite looking very much like real teeth, composite ceramic do not last long. These fillings often require replacing every five or so years. Also, the material is quite expensive to purchase.
Ceramic fillings are made from medical-grade porcelain. Ceramic dental fillings, just like composite resin, can look very much like natural enamel. The filling can be shaded to match the color of your teeth. Not only that, this type of filling is highly resistant to staining.
Compared to composite resin, ceramic dental fillings are not prone to abrasions. So they last longer. However, the material itself is fragile. Ceramic needs to be a big chunk to be durable. That means your tooth must provide the necessary bulk for the fillings to stay in place. As a result, ceramic dental fillings are done using special techniques called inlays and onlays.
The aesthetically pleasing values of ceramic dental fillings come at a hefty price. You would have to pay more for these compared to composite resin fillings.
Gold Dental Fillings
Gold dental fillings were quite popular in the past (as seen in pirate pictures). In modern time, though, these fillings are become far less popular. Rarely do dentists offer gold fillings anymore.
Gold fillings are expensive, but dentists preferred the material for its sturdiness. Gold doesn’t corrode and can last in your mouth for 15 years or more. These days, dentists prefer silver-based fillings though.
Silver Amalgam Fillings
Silver amalgam dental fillings is made from a mixture of metals and minerals. If you thought this filling is entirely silver, it’s not. Silver amalgam fillings are about 50 percent mercury. The other half of the composition is made up of silver, zinc, copper, and tin metals.
Despite its mercury content, silver amalgam dental fillings are quite safe to use. Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Dental Academy deem these fillings safe.
Silver amalgam is a very popular type dental filling. In most parts of the world, it’s the most widely used as well. Dentists prefer the material because it’s surprisingly durable and sturdy. A silver amalgam filling can last up to 15 years in your mouth. Consumers like this material because it’s largely affordable.
Though budget-friendly and long-lasting, silver amalgam dental fillings cannot imitate natural enamel. This material stands out in your mouth. On front teeth, smiling may expose the filling.
Also, silver amalgam changes size in your mouth. That means it can contract or expand enough to show cracks. At this point, you will need a new filling.
Glass Ionomer Fillings
Glass ionomer dental fillings are also known as glass and acrylic fillings. This material is not used with adults. Glass fillings are using in children’s teeth mainly. The material is well suited for children’s teeth because the enamel is changing, unlike in adults.
These types of fillings protect children’s teeth from decay by releasing fluoride, a germ-killing mineral. However, this material is not aesthetically pleasing or durable. Glass ionomer fillings last only five years or less. Also, it’s not possible to make the material match tooth color.