When you have a tooth cavity, one of the dental treatment options available to you is filling. Once your dentist has examined the affected tooth, they will be able to recommend the best course of action to be taken. When it comes to fillings, it is important that you understand the different options that you have as well as the pros and cons associated with each of these options.
Some of the factors you will have to be mindful of when choosing dental fillers include how long the filler is expected to last, the total cost of treatment, insurance coverage as well as the out of pocket costs you are likely to incur.
Dental Fillings: What is the best option?
Composite resins, also known as tooth-colored fillings, are a special mixture of acrylic resin and powdered glass. They are commonly used on front and back teeth, providing the durability and resistance needed on these teeth. This means that the filling will withstand pressure when you chew and resist any fractures. Composite resins are ideal for filling small and mid-size cavities and can be shaded to resemble the natural color of your teeth. This helps to make them less noticeable so that you can smile with confidence.
This is an affordable filling option that has been used by dentists over the years. Amalgam fillings, commonly referred to as silver-colored, are made up of a mixture of metals such as copper, tin, silver and mercury. This is one of the reasons why these fillings are strong and long-lasting. However, for all the benefits that dental amalgam offers, it is not without some disadvantages. Over time, the silver color of the mixture will begin to become darker, making the material more noticeable whenever you open your mouth. Another disadvantage of amalgam is that the mercury it contains is not safe for kids below six years of age.
Gold fillings are also known as inlays and onlays. These fillings are composed of a mixture of copper, gold, and other metals. The gold makes the fillings durable, with some lasting as long as two decades. However, the durability of the material means that you will have to pay more to have it fixed. Gold fillings will not produce the natural look associated with amalgam and will require you to spend a significant amount of time at the dentist.
Just like gold, porcelain fillings are indirect fillings. This means that you will need to visit your dentist several times when you settle on this filling option. They also tend to be pricier when compared to amalgam. However, porcelain is more fragile than gold and will help you to maintain the natural appearance of your teeth.
When kids get cavities in their primary teeth or adults have small areas of decay, glass ionomer can be used to fill the damaged area. However, this type of filling is delicate and very susceptible to wear and tear. This means that the filling cannot be placed in areas that are subject to a lot of chewing action or extreme pressure.
With the various options available to you, it is important to discuss the options with your dentist. By doing this, you will get expert advice that will help you to exercise your choice based on expert advice.