Dental fillings are commonly used to repair teeth that have been damaged by cavities or trauma. If you have never had a tooth filled before, you may not be aware that there are different types to choose from. Here is a comparison of three common types of fillings to help you choose the best type for your teeth.
Amalgam fillings, also known as silver fillings, are one of the most affordable filling options available. While they do contain silver, they are actually made of a mixture of metals, with mercury comprising almost 50 percent of the mixture. Amalgam fillings are a safe and durable option that will not distort or loosen from chewing and other normal use of your teeth.
While they are popular for their strength and low cost, many people do not like to use amalgam fillings on their front teeth. The silver color of amalgam fillings makes them stand out from your enamel, so you may prefer to use them only on your back teeth where they are less visible. Additionally, amalgam fillings are not as corrosion-resistant as other materials, so they are likely to become discolored over time.
Dental Composite Fillings
Dental composite is a mixture of plastic and fine glass that very closely matches the natural color of your teeth. Composite fillings are placed by filling the damaged area of the tooth with composite resin, and then hardening the resin using a UV light. Composite fillings are a popular choice for front teeth because of their similar appearance to enamel, and also because the bonding process requires minimal drilling.
One downside of composite fillings is that they are more expensive than amalgam fillings. This is primarily due to the longer application time of composite fillings, as they must be installed and hardened layer-by-layer. Composite fillings are also less durable than amalgam fillings; years of chewing and tooth grinding can cause them to wear down and necessitate additional visits to your dentist to maintain the shape of your tooth.
Ceramic fillings are another filling option that very closely matches the natural appearance of your teeth. Ceramic is highly resistant to staining and wear, and it can be shaped very accurately so that it is virtually unnoticeable on front teeth.
Because of these advantages, ceramic is one of the most expensive types of fillings available. Ceramic is also somewhat brittle, so strong bite forces sometimes pose a risk of chipping the filling.
Keep these factors in mind so that you can make an informed decision about the best type of fillings for your teeth.