The different types of dental fillings

The different types of dental fillings

Dental restorations, commonly known as fillings, are one of the most common treatments in dentistry. These restorations are performed to replace decayed, fractured or worn tooth structure with dental products such as composite or amalgam. Dental fillings restore the stability and shape of a tooth, allowing chewing and preventing further damage or cavities. There are different materials available for restoring teeth, and your dentist will advise you on the best one, depending on the condition of the tooth to be repaired.

Composite (white filling): Composite is a resin-based dental product. It is placed inside the tooth while it is soft, then hardened using a light-curing lamp. This is the most common option for a filling, as it is made to match the color of the patient’s existing teeth, making it more aesthetically pleasing. They can survive for ten years or more, after which replacement may be necessary.

Amalgam (grey filling): Dental amalgam is a combination of silver, tin, zinc, copper and mercury. It’s a common choice because it’s strong, durable and less expensive than other options. An amalgam can withstand up to 12 years of use. Its main drawback is that it is not aesthetically pleasing, so it is not the best choice for a visible tooth. The material can also react to temperature changes by contracting and expanding, which can lead to cracking of the tooth. It should be noted, however, that amalgam is non-toxic and contains very little mercury, so it is perfectly safe to use in the mouth.

Glass ionomer: Glass ionomer is a mixture of glass and acrylic. It is generally used for children whose teeth are still forming, or as a temporary filling to restore a tooth before a permanent filling is made. It can also be used for repairs near gums or tooth roots. It releases fluoride into the applied tooth, protecting it from further decay. However, they only survive a few years, as they are more fragile than composite.

Ceramic/gold: Ceramic and gold can be used to restore more complex cases. They are more expensive than others, but are more resistant to staining and abrasion than composite. Ceramic restorations are also highly aesthetic. Gold and porcelain (ceramic) fillings can last more than 15 years in the mouth.

If you have a cavity, it’s important to see your dentist for a dental filling. Your dentist is the best person to help you choose the type of material to use. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to consult your dentist.

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