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Types of Dental Fillings

Published on December 7, 2015

When your dentist at Alpha Dental discovers that you have tooth decay, removing it as soon as possible preserves the structure of the tooth. Once Dr. Ahmed has successfully removed the decay, the next step is to apply a dental filling. The materials to create the different types of dental fillings include:

  • Ceramic Fillings: Porcelain is the main component of these types of fillings. Although ceramic fillings are typically more expensive than all but gold fillings, they are durable and aesthetically pleasing. One downside is that they are more brittle and bulky so your dentist must reduce the tooth size to fit them comfortably. Fillings made from ceramic are highly resistant to staining.
  • Glass Ionomers: The ingredients in this filling type include glass and acrylic. Longevity averages five years, which makes them the least durable of all filling materials. Glass ionomers are most appropriate for children whose teeth are still growing and changing. One major advantage is that they release fluoride to protect the tooth against further decay.
  • Gold: Gold fillings are not common because they are much more expensive and difficult to place. One benefit is that gold is non-abrasive when used as a dental filling.
  • Silver Amalgam: This is the most popular type of dental filling. It contains a mixture of mercury, copper, zinc, tin, and silver. However, mercury accounts for at least half of the total mixture. Silver amalgam fillings are durable and can last for decades with proper care. They have fallen out of favor with patients in recent years due to not being aesthetically pleasing and concern about the mercury breaking free and causing an infection. This situation is extremely rare.

Composite Fillings Make a Superior Choice

Composite fillings, also called tooth colored, are extremely popular with patients for good reason. Of all filling types, they match the shade of your teeth most closely. This allows you to disguise the fact that you have cavities at all. The primary materials are resin and plastic. Since Dr. Ahmed use a curing light when placing a composite filling, it hardens almost immediately. You typically have to wait up to several hours for other types of fillings to harden in place. Composite fillings help you feel more confident about your smile as well.

Request a Consultation to Learn More about Dental Filling Options

With so many choices available, patients need more information about each option to make the right choice. We encourage you to ask questions of your dentist at Alpha Dental to ensure that you choose the right type of filling for your situation.

Filed under: Dental Care, Dental Treatments

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