When you have a cavity, the first step that your dentist will take is to remove the decayed part of the tooth. The reason why it is called a “filling” a tooth is because the filling goes over the part of the tooth that has been removed. There are also times when fillings are used to repair broken or cracked teeth, or those that have been misused or worn down from things like grinding your teeth or repetitious behaviors like nail-biting or chewing with a poor or maligned bite.
What are the various materials that are used to fill a tooth?
Although metal composites used to be one of the only options that dentists had in the past, several more resilient filling types are now available. Filling materials can be silver, gold, porcelain, silver amalgam, composite resin or plastic. Glass ionomer is also an option and is comprised of glass particles.
The type of material needed is usually determined is by several factors
The location of the dental carie will have a huge bearing on which type of material is chosen. Other factors that are used to make a decision are things like what your insurance carrier will cover, and what your dentist recommends as the best type of filling for your individual needs. Each type of filling will come with both advantages and disadvantages.
Cast Gold Fillings
The major advantage that cast gold has over other materials is that it is a highly durable material; it can last a minimum of 10 to 15 years and usually will not corrode the way that other materials can. It can also withstand a whole lot of chewing different types of foods. Also, many patients prefer the aesthetic appearance of a gold filling over a silver amalgam. It does not contain harmful metals that other fillings – like mercury – can.
The biggest disadvantage is that it is a very expensive material to use, and it might require at least two visits for a cast gold filling to be placed. If you already have a silver amalgam filling close by, there is the potential to have galvanic shock, which can be highly painful, so weighing all the factors is important.
One big advantage of using silver amalgam fillings is that they are also highly durable and can withstand a whole lot of chewing. They are also less expensive than other products, like composite fillings or their cast gold counterparts. However, the disadvantages to silver amalgam are plentiful when compared to other alternatives.
They have a very poor aesthetic appearance and tend to be more destructive to the overall tooth structure, which means they need to be replaced frequently. They also have a discoloration that isn’t very appealing, and they can create fractures and cracks in the teeth as they cool and expand when placing. In addition, they have the potential to cause allergic reactions, and there are suspicions that as the filling begins to degrade, over time it might leak harmful metals into the bloodstream.
The advantages of composites are numerous. They are highly aesthetically appealing because they blend right in with the tooth. They also bond well to the tooth structure, so they provide structural integrity to the tooth. As they are extremely versatile, they can be used for dental caries, chipped teeth, or for any other tooth damage.
They often require that less of the tooth be removed before they can be placed than silver amalgam fillings. The disadvantages are that they tend not to last as long as metal fillings. They also take longer to place, and they might require additional visits. Furthermore, they are a very expensive option, and they tend to chip more easily than other choices.
If you are looking for the best materials to use for tooth caries, then you have to take all things into consideration including price, aesthetics, durability, and health or safety concerns. Sometimes the cheapest alternative might be a hazard to your dental health, but if you go purely by how good they look, you might end up replacing them frequently. The choice is one that you and your dentist should make together so that it makes the most sense for you.