Different dental clinics recommend different types of dental fillings. The types of dental fillings used are meant to prevent the tooth from further decay and breakage, and also to create a comfortable sensation as the patient chews food. Therefore, it’s important for you to differentiate the various types of tooth fillings and to understand what your options are when it comes to tooth fillings.
In dental care, tooth cavity treatment is part of the regular routine that goes on in a dental clinic and involves the use of different types of tooth fillings. During a routine tooth filling, the first thing that a dentist does is to completely escavite the decaying caries, and place medicine in the affected area.
This leaves an empty space in that area of the tooth. Afterwards, the dentist uses the preferred dental filling to fill in this empty space and smooths out the area of proper biting surface and occlusion.
What are the different types of dental fillings?
We will cover five main types of tooth fillings in this post. These are:
- Composite fillings
- Silver amalgam fillings
- Glass ionomer fillings
- Ceramic, and
- Gold fillings
What are composite fillings?
A composite filling is considered one of the main types of dental filling material. Among the various types of tooth fillings used, this particular one is quite popular among most patients that visit the dentist for routine check-ups. This dental filling material mainly consists of different resins that are applied to the affected cavity area while it’s still in its semi-solid state.
By the use of a bright blue ‘curing’ light, the material’s chemical composition is changed, thereby causing it to change its physical state. In other words, the blue light is used as a catalyst to harden the material so as to completely cover up the cavity. The main reason why this dental filling material is commonly used is that it’s one of the best types of tooth fillings available that can be matched in color to the shade of the patient’s affected tooth.
Silver amalgam fillings: Do you know the truth about amalgam fillings?
For a century and a half, dentists around the world have been using dental amalgam to fight tooth decay by filling in cavities. The treatment has been used several hundred million times on patients in just about every country in the world.
Dental amalgam is a material made from a combination of different metals, such as mercury, tin, copper, and silver. The mercury makes up about half of the mixture, while the other substances make up the rest. Since the mercury in dental amalgam is in a liquid state, it reacts with the other powdered metals to create a binding agent that can be molded to fit in the space left in cavities and formed to be comfortable in the mouth. Because dental amalgam is made of metal, it has a distinct silver color, which is why it is also known as “silver fillings”.
Before installing dental amalgam in your mouth, a dentist will drill out the space in the tooth where there is decay, leaving only healthy tooth enamel. Then the dentist will place the amalgam, which acts like putty, into the cavity left behind. The dentist will shape the putty mixture until it fits properly and does not affect the patient’s bite. The amalgam then hardens very quickly and can then act as part of the tooth.
There are some risks with silver amalgam fillings. The vapors from the mercury can get absorbed in the lungs, which can lead to health problems. Because of this, silver amalgam fillings are no longer used.
What are glass ionomer tooth fillings?
When you look at the types of dental fillings that dentists put to use, the glass ionomer is mostly preferred for children who are still undergoing the shedding of teeth. In relation to other different types of fillings, the glass ionomer has one of the shortest of life-spans that is less than 5 years.
Ideally, what makes it unique from the various different types of tooth fillings is that it produces fluoride around the cavity. This procedure prevents the affected tooth from incurring further decay and is something that is not offered by the most of the other types of fillings.
On the other hand, the glass ionomer is considered to be weaker as compared to composite resin. This is because it’s highly prone to cracks, wear and tear. In addition, the traditional ionomer can’t be used to accurately match the color of the teeth like the composite resin.
What are ceramic fillings?
While we have already previously mentioned three different types of tooth fillings, this one in specific is ranked as the most expensive in contrast to other types of fillings. The main reason why they’re highly priced is because they’re both aesthetically attractive and long-lasting.
Ceramic is a good choice to consider in the midst of other different types of dental fillings on account of its tooth color design and high resistance to abrasion and staining. This puts it a rank higher than the composite resin, but it’s still a lot more brittle. As a result, the input procedure is slightly different than the other types of tooth fillings, where the empty space needs to be enlarged further to create room for its bulkiness.
While slightly different from the various different types of tooth fillings, ceramic dental restorations are known as onlays or inlays.
Gold fillings: Dental filling options?
Just as you might have guessed it, gold fillings are expensive in regard to other different types of tooth fillings. Actually, you’re more likely to never come across a dentist who will bring it forward as an option knowing very well there are other tooth filling options. Different from the types of dental fillings we discussed above, gold doesn’t corrode and can last up to 15 years or more.
The only downside about gold is that it takes a series of visits to get it properly fitted into the cavity space. This generally makes it harder to fit compared to other types of tooth fillings.
If you would like more in-depth information, give us a call or reach out to us.
Kate Brayman, DDS
20 5th Ave Suite 1C, New York, NY 10011