Learn about different types of dental fillings
Suffering from dental cavity? Well the best solution to it is the use of dental fillings. It removes the decayed portion of your teeth and fills the area with materials that help in making up for the loss. However that is not the only use of dental fillings. They are also used for repair of cracked and broken tooth.
Steps to place dental fillings
Before getting to know the types of dental fillings in market, let us first understand how are they placed on your teeth. The procedure is carried out under the influence of local anesthesia so that the area can be made numb. After this with the help of drill, air abrasion tool or laser the decayed area will be removed.
Your dentist will check whether all the decay has been removed or not. Once it has been checked thoroughly the place will be prepared to put the filling. To do this the cavity will be cleaned so that any sort of bacteria or debris is not left behind.
If the decay is near the root, your dentist may first put in a liner made of glass ionomer, composite resin, or other material to protect the nerve. Generally, after the filling is in, your dentist will finish and polish it.
Different type of dental fillings
Let’s now understand different type of dental fillings, their composition, advantage and disadvantages:
- Composition: A mixture of silver, tin, zinc, copper and mercury. Mercury is nearly 50% of the mixture.
- Types: Conventional
- Used for: Fillings in posterior teeth
- Lasts: minimum 10 years, usually longer
- Costs: Realy cost effective
- They are strong and can withstand the forces of chewing.
- They are less costly than the alternatives.
- Requires just one visit.
- Least sensitive to moisture during the filling process than composite resin.
- Amalgam doesn’t match the color of your teeth.
- Amalgam fillings can corrode or tarnish over time. This can lead to discoloration where the filling meets the tooth.
- The cavity preparation (the “pocket” in your tooth) developed by your dentist requires undercuts or ledges to keep the filling in place. Your dentist may have to remove more of the tooth to create a secure pocket.
- There are certain patients who are allergic to mercury or be concerned about its effects.
Amalgam fillings are absolutely safe. Recently researchers have shown that the amount of mercury exposure from amalgam fillings is similar to what people get from other sources in the environment.
- Composition: A mixture of plastic and fine glass particles.
- Types: Direct and indirect. Direct fillings are placed by your dentist with the help of a bright blue light which hardens the soft material. In case of indirect fillings, your dentist will prepare the tooth and take an impression of it. A laboratory or the dentist then will make the filling from the mold. During a second visit, your dentist will cement this filling into place.
- Used for: Small and large fillings, especially in front teeth or the visible parts of teeth; also for inlays
- Lasts: At least five years
- Costs: More than amalgam, but less than gold
- These dental fillings or inlay matches the color of your teeth.
- Although the filling can be completed in one dental visit but an inlay may require two visits.
- Composite fillings can bond directly to the tooth. This makes the tooth stronger than it would be with an amalgam filling.
- Less drilling is involved than with amalgam fillings. That’s because your dentist does not have to shape the space as much to hold the filling securely. The bonding process holds the composite resin in the tooth.
- Indirect composite fillings and inlays are heat-cured. This step increases their strength.
- Composite resin can be used in combination with other materials, such as glass ionomer, to provide the benefits of both materials.
- Composite resins cost more than amalgam fillings.
- Although composite resins have become stronger and more resistant to wear, it’s not clear whether they last as long as amalgam fillings under the pressure of chewing.
- The composite may shrink when placed, producing gaps between the tooth and the filling. This can lead to more cavities in areas where the filling is not making good contact with your tooth. The shrinkage is reduced when your dentist places this type of filling in thin layers.
- These fillings take more time to place. That’s because they are usually placed in layers. The increased time and labor involved also contribute to the higher cost.
- Made of: Gold alloy (gold mixed with other metals)
- Used for: Inlays and onlays, crowns
- Lasts: At least 15 years, usually longer
- Costs: More than most other materials; 6 to 10 times more expensive than amalgam
- Gold doesn’t corrode.
- Some people like the gold color better than the silver color of amalgam.
- Gold fillings are durable enough to withstand chewing forces. They last longer than all other filling materials.
- You must visit the dentist at least twice to receive a gold filling. At the first visit, the dentist makes an impression of your tooth and places a temporary filling. The gold filling is made from the impression. It is placed at a second visit.
- The cost is high because of the high cost of gold and the work involved.
So these were top three type of dental fillings used these days. The bottom line is that an amalgam carries with it a legacy of nearly 150 years. It is safe, durable and strong. However let your dentist take a call here as they will conduct a thorough check to see which material is best suited for you.