Fillings are a very common occurrence in the dentistry world, unfortunately. They are the easy, affordable go-to treatment option for broken, worn, or decayed teeth. But depending on the tooth, its damage and its function, several different types of filling materials may be used. Your friendly Valencia dentist is here to help you understand your options.
Silver fillings, aka amalgams, are the most common. There are typically less expensive than composite fillings, are strong enough to endure chewing forces, and typically last between 10 and 15 years, much longer than composite fillings.
However, they have their drawbacks. They are not tooth colored, standing out in your mouth. They can even stain neighboring enamel, casting a grayish tint. It requires a lot of space in the tooth, so extra, healthy tissue may have to be removed in order to fill. And due to the tight squeeze, the amalgam may crack or fracture the tooth when it naturally expands and contracts due to heat and cold. And an unlucky 1% of people are allergic to the mercury lingering in the amalgam.
Cast gold fillings do not corrode. They are also strong enough to endure chewing forces and typically last between 10 and 15 years. Some people may find the gold color more alluring than the silver of the amalgam fillings.
However, the gold is not cheap; it can cost up to 10 times more than the silver amalgams. They also must be installed in at least two separate office visits. And they run the very rare risk of galvanic shock: if the gold filling is placed next to an amalgam filling, the mixture of saliva with the metals can cause an electric current, causing a painful shock.
Tooth-colored composite fillings are better suited for your face teeth. They are matched to the same color as your existing teeth and blend in perfectly. The composite chemically bonds with your tooth, creating durability and versatility, ranging from cavity fillings to chipped tooth repair.
However, composite fillings typically only last for 5 years, and cannot withstand as much pressure as their metallic counterparts. They are not as cheap as amalgam fillings, either, but still cost less than gold. And they take longer than the other materials to fill, sometimes requiring more than one visit.
So you have many options when you are faced with a cavity. Be sure to discuss your options with your friendly Valencia dentist - Go Dental at your next appointment.