Dental cavities, accidental chipping, or minor tooth damage can leave behind unsightly gaps and compromises in your smile. Dental fillings come to the rescue, restoring both the appearance and functionality of your teeth. With advancements in dentistry, various filling materials are available, each with its own set of advantages. Let’s explore the options for dental fillings and understand how they can help you regain your confident smile.
Types of dental fillings:
Amalgam fillings: Amalgam fillings often referred to as silver fillings, have been used for decades. They are a blend of metals, including mercury, silver, tin, and copper. Amalgam fillings are durable and highly resistant to wear and tear, making them suitable for back teeth that experience significant chewing forces. However, their metallic appearance makes them less popular for visible front teeth.
Composite fillings: Composite resin fillings are a more aesthetically pleasing option. They are made from a mixture of plastic and glass particles, which can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Composite fillings are versatile and can be used for both front and back teeth. They are bonded directly to the tooth, which often requires less removal of healthy tooth structure compared to amalgam fillings.
Ceramic fillings: Ceramic or porcelain fillings, also known as inlays or onlays, are custom-made restorations that are fabricated in a dental laboratory and then bonded to the tooth. They are known for their natural appearance and can closely mimic the color and texture of your natural teeth. Ceramic fillings are highly biocompatible and provide excellent durability.
Glass ionomer fillings: Glass ionomer fillings are a blend of acrylic and glass materials. They are often used for fillings on non-chewing surfaces of teeth and young patients. These fillings release fluoride over time, which can help prevent further decay in the surrounding tooth structure.
Factors to consider:
Choosing the right dental filling material depends on various factors, including:
Location of the filling: Back teeth endure more pressure while chewing, so materials like amalgam or ceramic might be preferred. For visible front teeth, composite or ceramic fillings are more suitable due to their natural appearance.
Budget and insurance: Different filling materials come at different costs. Your dental insurance coverage and budget can influence your choice.
Allergies and sensitivities: Some individuals might be sensitive to certain filling materials. Discuss any allergies or sensitivities with your dentist.
Size of the cavity: The size of the cavity or damage determines whether a simple filling, an inlay, or an onlay is needed.