Common Types of Fillings for CavitiesDental cavity fillings are made from artificial substances to fill in the holes or gaps in teeth caused by decay. The dental filling prevents the corrosion from spreading and further destroying teeth. Several materials are most typically used to fill in the cavities caused by decay. Which one you choose to fill in your cavity will depend on your particular oral health needs, personal preferences, and budget. Some common dental cavity filling materials include:
Silver Amalgam FillingsSilver amalgam fillings combine silver and other minerals, including copper, tin, zinc, and trace elemental mercury. Despite any hesitance surrounding mercury, the substance has long been declared safe for use in restorative dental work. Silver amalgam fillings have been a common choice for years because of their ease of use by dentists and characteristics that patients appreciate. This sturdy type of filling stands the test of time, lasting up to twelve years or longer. Many people choose silver amalgam fillings because they are sturdy, long-lasting, and reasonably priced. The color of silver fillings is usually not visibly shiny and darkens over time. For this reason, many people choose to receive silver amalgam fillings in their back molars and less visible teeth, where aesthetics are not as much of a concern.
Ceramic FillingsCeramic fillings are composed of porcelain materials. These dental cavity fillings are a popular option with patients because they are cosmetically pleasing and long-lasting. Ceramic fillings cost more than other types of common dental fillings, but if they are within the patient’s budget, they are well worth it. These filings are tooth-colored, so they have a natural look. They also are more stain-resistant and less prone to damage from abrasion.
Composite FillingsComposite fillings are composed of plastic and resin materials. Your dentist places composite within the tooth in its softened state, then permanently hardened with a curing light. This filling is a common choice because dentists can match it to their patient’s natural tooth color. Many people find them the most aesthetically pleasing option. Composite fillings are not quite as long-lasting as some other dental cavity filling options, so patients will most likely have to return to restore their composite fillings in five to ten years.
Glass Ionomer fillingsSometimes dentists use glass ionomer fillings for a younger person whose teeth are still growing and forming. These types of dental fillings are composed of glass and acrylic. The benefit of glass ionomer is that it releases fluoride into the tooth to prevent further decay. This filling material is weaker, leading to it wearing down and breaking more quickly than other materials dentists use. For this reason, it can be a perfect option for a child’s cavity filling, where a more permanent solution isn’t necessarily the best choice.
What to Expect During a Dental Cavity Filling ProcedureDental cavity fillings are used for the outer enamel layers of teeth when decay has not yet reached the inner pulp, nerves, or blood vessels. If you have a decaying tooth, you need to come in for a dental restoration. It is a relatively simple procedure. First, the dentist will clean out the decaying tooth, scraping off the damaged part. Decay removal leaves the hole in your tooth empty and exposed. They can then thoroughly inspect the extent of damage and decide on the proper filling. Your dentist will recommend the best type of filling to restore the tooth to its healthy state and prevent further degradation. They will then use appropriate anesthetics so that you are unlikely to feel much if any pain during the procedure. Your dentist will fill the hole with your chosen dental cavity filling. Sealing the tooth will even out the tooth surface and make chewing easier. It will also restore the healthy look of your tooth. When preparing for your dental visit, it helps to keep in mind that cavity fillings are not as complicated or scary as you may remember. After a consultation, X-rays, and a thorough evaluation, there are just five simple steps to your dental filling procedure:
- Anesthesia for tooth numbing
- Decay Removal
- Tooth Preparation
- Filling the tooth
- A dental bite check