Cavities are one of the most common dental issues for children and adults alike, so it makes sense that the word cavity closely follows to the word dentist in a patient’s mind. A cavity is a hole in the tooth brought about by decay. The best way to fix the damage is to clear out the decay, clean the affected area, and then fill the cavity with a replacement substance called a filling.
This procedure prevents further tooth decay while maintaining function and appearance. Since the Marconi Dental Group understands every mouth is different, we offer multiple types of fillings to cover a variety of needs. At your appointment, your dentist will discuss with you the pros and cons of each material, but here is a general summary.
Composite resins (plastic)
Pros: Resins are made to match the natural color of your teeth. As they are placed, the materials take the form of the cavity, and then harden.
Cons: They don’t last as long as some other fillings (sometimes less than 10 years, although other patients use them for time lengths similar to metallic materials). They are not recommended for larger fillings due to breaking or chipping over time. Coffee, tea or tobacco can eventually stain them.
Pros: Amalgam fillings are a composite of metallic elements including silver, tin, copper, and others. They are resistant to wear (hence a good choice for molars) and are relatively inexpensive.
Cons: Due to their dark color, they contrast with the look of natural teeth. Both dentists and patients typically avoid using this filling within the smile lines. Some are concerned about the presence of mercury and other heavy metals in amalgam fillings.
Pros: Glass ionomer fillings are made of acrylic and a silicate material. Traditionally they are used in the front teeth or for root fillings. These areas do not suffer significant force during chewing. Ionomer is also relatively inexpensive.
Cons: Durability is an issue with this material, thus glass ionomers are only placed in the areas mentioned above where they face little wear. Does not match the tooth as well as resin fillings.
Porcelain (large fillings or inlays)
Pros: Porcelain can also match the color of natural teeth. These fillings resist staining, and can be bonded to large parts of the tooth.
Cons: Porcelain fillings are more expensive, often comparable to gold fillings.
Pros: Gold fillings were used as early as the nineteenth century because they are well-tolerated by gum tissue. They can last for twenty years, and many patients like the idea of having gold in their teeth.
Cons: Gold fillings are typically the most expensive. They require multiple checkups to administer and maintain. They are also a special order item, as this material is no longer commonly used.
It’s important to consider the location and severity of the cavity, as well as your patterns of tooth wear, when making the choice in filling material. You and your Carmichael dentist will determine which type of filling best suits your needs.