At some point in your life, you may be one of the thousands of people who require a filling. Below is a list of the most common fillings, with a few pros cons and some information regarding cost.
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An amalgam filling consists of a mixture of silver, tin, zinc, copper, and mercury. Mercurey is the most abundant material in the blend. Amalgam fillings don’t match the color of your teeth and may make them appear darker than they actually are. However, amalgam fillings are most commonly used on your molars, so no one will be seeing them when you smile. Amalgam fillings don’t bond with your teeth so a pocket must be drilled out first, but amalgam fillings are the strongest, cheapest, and most quickly administered type of filling. Some may have concerns about mercury levels in the body.
2. Composite Resin
Composite resin is a mixture of plastic and fine glass particles. Composite fillings will match the color of your teeth, can take only one dentist visit, and directly bonds to the tooth requiring minimal drilling before the filling is administered. Resin fillings cost a bit more than amalgam fillings, and are slightly less durable. The composite resin is also prone to shrinking once administered in the tooth, so beware of the gaps that may form, raising the chances that the cavity may worsen.
3. Cast Gold
Gold fillings are approximately six to ten times more expensive than amalgam fillings, and can last up to 15 years. Aside from the fancy appearance, gold fillings are the longest lasting fillings. If you’d like a gold filling, you’ll have to make two trips to the dentist though, one for the mold to be taken and made, and the second for it to be inserted into your tooth. Also beware, if a gold filling is close to an amalgam filling, a current may be able to pass through your saliva causing a “galvanic shock” much like if you bite down on tin foil with a filling!
Ceramic fillings are made of porcelain, a material that has been used in dentistry for many years. Depending on the type, ceramic fillings can cost as much as gold. Ceramic fillings can last over seven years, and are the most resistant to staining and abrasion. On the other hand, ceramics are more brittle and can break more easily than the other types. Also, when a ceramic filling is used there is a minimum size requirement. The size requirement may require the dentist to remove a large amount of your tooth in order for the filling to be big enough to be durable enough.
So, now you have read an article about the four different types of dental fillings. These different types of dental fillings are very different in terms of price and composition. Be sure to discuss with your dentist which dental filling material he or she likes to use. Let me know what they day in the comments: I’d love to hear which are the most prevalent.
Zane Schwarzlose writes for Sugar Land Dental Spa, a dental practice in Sugar Land, Texas. Zane is pretty sure he’s gotten amalgam fillings.