Types and Benefits of Dental Fillings


The Many Types of Dental Fillings

Dentists are some of the most trusted people in the United States. Perhaps it is because we put such a high value on a nice smile, or maybe it is just because they aren’t selling us more and more prescriptions that cost a fortune. Whatever the reason, over 95% of American adults said they felt comfortable with their dentist and confident in his or her recommendations.

It really didn’t matter why the person visited the dental clinic either. It could have been for gum treatments, implants, crowns, or any other type of dental care. Today we want to talk to you specifically about dental implants though. Because dental implants are one of the most common treatments at the dentist office, it is important for you to understand the different types of implants and what their advantages are. There are five main types: Amalgam, Composite, Gold, Ceramic, and Glass Ionomer.


Amalgam Fillings: This is often called “silver”, though the mixture is actually a combination of tin, copper, silver, and mercury. This has been used for over 150 years and continues to be used because of how durable and long lasting it is. They are traditionally the least expensive option too. One of the only drawbacks with this type of filling is that they are very noticeable and tend to darken over time. If you are looking for something that blends in, Amalgam is not the way to go. If you are looking for something that is very cost effective though, this is your choice.

Composite: These are made of an acrylic resin and powdered glass. Because of this, they can be made to match the color of your teeth, which is one reason they are so popular. One of the drawbacks is that they wear out faster and aren’t great for the teeth that take the greatest chewing pressure.

Gold: Just like “silver” fillings, these aren’t made of pure gold. These are the most durable filling and don’t corrode like amalgam does and they are very strong. However, these are also very expensive, sometimes costing 10 times the amount of an amalgam. But if you want something durable, or you just love the bling, gold is the way to go.

Ceramic: These are made mostly of porcelain. This makes them very low profile and in addition to being the color of your teeth, they are also stain resistant. The biggest drawback of going ceramic is how brittle they are. In addition to being brittle, these are also nearly as expensive as gold.

Glass Ionomer: The fifth of the common type of filling is glass ionomer. These are made of acrylic and flouroaluminosilicate. Usually used as cement for inlay and front teeth, or when the decay extends into the root of the tooth. Because these are a weaker composite than resin, glass ionomer usually only last 5 years. These are great options for fillings in baby teeth because of that, but other than that aren’t as popular a choice.


Why Fillings are Necessary

Now that you understand a little more about the different options you have when it comes to getting a dental filling, it is important to know why these are necessary in the first place. Tooth decay is the result of poor mouth hygiene and can result in the need for a dental filling. As the decay continues to corrode and rot the tooth, it can sometimes cause toothaches or simply rot away the entire tooth down to the roots.

Getting tooth fillings can bolster teeth that have weakened structures. Depending on how bad the damage to the tooth is, either indirect fillings or direct fillings will be used. Indirect are typically the best when the existing tooth structure is so weak that it cannot support direct fillings. However, if the rot and damage has not reached that point, then a direct method will often be used.

Fillings can also help prevent infection in the mouth, teeth, and gums. This is especially true for temporary fillings. Typically if a root canal or other dental work is required, temporary fillings will be used to give the gums time to heal and the nerves time to relax before a final filling is added.

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