Individuals with cavities understand the importance of restoring the affected teeth. A cavity interferes with a person’s ability to chew and eat a healthy diet and mars the smile if a front tooth is affected. Any cavity calls for a visit to the dentist, however.
The dentist restores the tooth by removing any decay. Doing so results in a hole in the tooth the dentist must fill. This filling evens out the surface of the tooth and makes it look natural once again. Thanks to advances in Dental Services, patients now find they have several tooth filling or dental restoration options to select from. The following guide summarizes the options offered today.
Many dentists recommend silver amalgam fillings to patients. This filling consists of a mixture of silver, copper, mercury, tin, and zinc. Dentists love that this material lasts for an extended period and costs less than other options. A standard silver amalgam filling lasts ten years or more, and dentists find it easy to shape to fill the hole left in the tooth from the decay.
However, a silver amalgam filling detracts from the smile, as it isn’t aesthetically pleasing when you think about dental restoration. People often choose this option for back teeth, while using other options for those teeth that are visible when they smile or talk. In addition, the tooth may crack, as the silver amalgam expands and contracts in response to temperature changes. This may lead to a gap between the tooth and filling, and this gap allows food and bacteria to accumulate. As a result, the tooth becomes more at risk of additional decay.
Dentists create composite fillings or dental restoration using resin material and plastic. They place this soft material in the tooth and use a bright curing light to harden it. Patients often choose this option for visible teeth, as the dentist can customize the color to match existing teeth. Other people won’t know the filling is there. However, composite fillings don’t last as long as silver amalgam ones. After a five or ten-year period, the filling will require replacement.
Ceramic fillings consist of porcelain material. Patients may choose this option if they want a cosmetically appealing filling that will last up to 20 years when properly cared for. While ceramic fillings cost more than other options, the filling mimics the appearance of the natural tool and resists stains and abrasion better than fillings made from composite resin.
However, ceramic fillings come with more bulk than composite fillings. Dentists use them on large cavities so the tooth won’t break. To do so, they may need to remove more of the natural tooth to accommodate this bulk.
Gold fillings appeal to many patients today. The filling lasts up to 15 years and gold serves as the perfect material to replace any of the natural teeth that have been lost to decay or injury. However, gold fillings come with a much higher price tag, which patients must consider when comparing the options.
Dentists create glass ionomer fillings using glass and acrylic and often select this filling material for children, as their teeth are still forming. The filling releases fluoride, which helps to protect the tooth from additional decay. Nevertheless, adults should not select this option, as the filling only lasts for a few years before it cracks or wears out. In addition, glass ionomer fillings don’t appear natural in the mouth.
Discuss all options with the dentist to determine which filling material for the purpose of dental restoration is best for your needs. Many factors come into play when making this decision. The dentist will help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of each option based on your specific situation. This ensures you get the right material for your mouth and a filling that will hold up for years to come.