Fillings are administered by your dentist to remove decay, and replace the affected tooth structure. It is called a filling because new a material fills hole that decay left. Now days most teeth are treated with bonded tooth colored composite resin fillings. Caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily and painlessly. If not treated decay can lead to tooth pain and/or infection, and the tooth would need root canal treatment or extraction.
As recommended by the American Dental Association, you have options when it comes to choosing your dental fillings, so it’s important to become educated on each.
When it comes to having a cavity filled, it’s important to know that you have the right to decide, after consultation with your dentist, what treatments and materials are used for your dental care. Your dentist considers materials to use on an individualized basis, taking into account the size and location of your cavity. Cosmetic considerations, how long the filling could last, insurance coverage and out of pocket costs are some other factors you might want to consider. The ADA encourages you to talk with your dentist so that together you may choose the material that’s right for you.
Types of Dental Fillings
Many people have to have dental fillings at some point in their lives, but how do you know which type of filling is best for your unique smile? While every case will be different, there are some facts about different types of dental fillings that are important for patients to be aware of.
Amalgam fillings are as popular as the classic tooth filling and also the least expensive. It is made of a combination of materials like zinc and copper and typically lasts upwards of 10 years. They are a popular choice for back teeth fillings because they do not match the color of real teeth, but have been known to gradually corrode over time in some cases.
Resin fillings are more popular for the front teeth because it seamlessly blends into a beautiful smile. Fillings can easily be done in just one visit and are often described as “uncomfortable, but not painful.” On the downside, they typically last only around 5 years and cost a bit more than amalgam fillings.
Gold fillings are not as popular as other methods because of their expense, but they do offer real advantages in certain situations. Gold fillings will not corrode and has been observed to last for 15 years or longer, so patients that can afford it often find this to be an option worth considering.
Like gold, this filling option is more expensive than many other options, but with noteworthy benefits. Ceramic fillings not only match the color of natural teeth, but they also actively resist staining and harsh abrasion, unlike other fillings. Some patients do not spring for this option, however, largely because they are often brittle and may shatter under the pressures of chewing. In general, however, ceramic fillings last for 7 years.
Curious about which type of dental filling is right for you? Contact us today to schedule your appointment at our convenient Port Washington office, or call us directly to speak to a friendly 3V associate.
This article has been reviewed and/or authored by Dr. Irina Kellerman