Choosing the Right Type of Dental Filling
Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems. Typically, it is caused by acids eating away the enamel and causing holes. The acids come as a result of food particles reacting with bacteria that are naturally in our mouths. Brushing and flossing your teeth eliminates food particles in your teeth, which ensures they don’t react with bacteria to form cavity-causing acids.
However, brushing and flossing are not always enough to keep cavities away. That’s why there are still so many cases of cavities worldwide despite people doing their best to maintain proper oral hygiene. Luckily, cavities are treatable. One of the most effective cavity treatments is dental fillings. Dental fillings are so common that there are at least 175 million treatments performed every year in the United States alone.
But do you know which the right tooth filling for your situation is? In this blog, we will discuss tooth fillings in detail. Hopefully, the information will help you choose the right filling for your situation. But first, what is a dental filling?
It is a dental material used to repair a decayed tooth to restore its strength and appearance. Leaving a decayed tooth untreated increases the chances of losing it. You don’t want to lose your natural tooth because nothing can be as functional as your natural teeth.
Types of Tooth Fillings
There are various types of tooth filling, normally classified by the material of the filling. Each material has its strengths and weaknesses, and there is no material that is perfect for all situations. That’s why it is paramount to understand these materials so you can know which will suit your situation best. Your dentist will help you choose the best material, though.
Composite resin is a combination of plastic and resin. This material has become quite popular in recent years, and it is for a good reason. It is cheap and can be matched to match the color of your teeth.
However, the composite resin is the least durable material for tooth fillings. It is susceptible to breaks, and its average lifespan is usually between three and ten years. Also, composite resin takes longer to apply since the resin takes longer to harden during application. Don’t worry, though. It is all carried out in one dental visit.
That said, composite resin fillings are not perfect for back teeth. Our back teeth do a lot of work in chewing, and the material may not withstand all that pressure. They are better when used for front teeth since front teeth don’t do a lot of chewing, and the material is aesthetic, anyway.
However, keep in mind that composite resin is not stain-resistant, so be wary of staining foods and drinks if you want to maintain your bright smile.
Amalgam is a material made of a combination of silver, mercury, and a touch of other metals such as zinc. The material is strong and durable and usually a perfect choice for back teeth. The only drawback is they are not aesthetic, making them not so ideal for front teeth.
Recently, there have been studies showing that using amalgam fillings may expose users to mercury poisoning. Although rare, this mercury poisoning can lead to liver, brain, and kidney problems. More research is needed to certify that amalgam fillings cause mercury poisoning, though.
Gold fillings have been around for centuries. The material is strong and durable, plus human gums tolerate the material quite well. Typically, a gold filling can last for more than 20 years without causing you any problems. The only problem is they are not placed in one visit. Also, the option is slightly more expensive. Still, it makes an excellent option for front and back teeth.
Ceramic/porcelain is one of the finest materials for tooth fillings. The material is strong, durable, and aesthetic. Like resin, it can be designed to match the color of your teeth. What’s more, it is stain-resistant, so you don’t need to be overcautious when taking foods and drinks. However, the material is slightly more expensive than resin and amalgam.
Which Tooth Filling Material is Best for You?
Technically, all the materials are good for certain situations. Consider each material carefully and choose the one you feel is best for your situation. Your dentist will also guide you into choosing the most suitable material.