If you have teeth, chances are you’ve had a cavity. While we all do our best to avoid them, sometimes the acids in our mouth are stronger than our best attempts to brush, and a cavity inevitably forms. And if you’ve had a cavity, you’ve almost certainly seen a dentist to have that cavity filled. But have you ever given thought to what exactly a filling is and how it works? Fillings do as their name suggests and fill the small holes in your teeth to restore them to their initial shape and strength, as well as preventing bacteria from entering the tooth and leading to decay further. Your dentist may actually use many different substances to help fill in a cavity, all with different benefits and uses. Your dentist will choose which material to use depending on your individual needs, but today we’re looking into the substances that might be considered!
Composite resin is made up of a special kind of plastic as well as small bits of glass, and it can be colored to match the shade of your natural teeth. Because of its versatility, the composite resin is most frequently used on front teeth that are the most visible. Composite resin can bond directly to the tooth, which reduces the need for drilling, and they are stronger than other types of fillings, increasing their longevity.
Made from a mixture of metals such as mercury and silver, amalgam fillings are used less frequently today than they have been in the past because they can’t match the color of your natural teeth. These fillings are solid and can last for a decade or longer, and are most frequently used on back teeth when needed.
Another tooth-colored option is porcelain fillings! While porcelain is stain resistant, it is more brittle than composite resin and more prone to chipping over time. Porcelain fillings are also quite expensive, but they have a very natural and appealing look.
A less frequently seen type of filling is glass ionomer. Made from acrylic and a type of glass known as fluoroaluminosilicate, these fillings are exceptionally strong and normally used in people with advanced tooth decay descending below the gumline. Glass ionomer is also used for filling baby teeth.
Gold is an extremely durable substance that can be great for its longevity. While gold fillings last longer than any other type of filling, they are highly visible in the mouth and can cost as much as ten times the price of amalgam fillings!
Every type of filling has its own unique benefits as well as things that detract from its desirability. Your dentist has the career knowledge and experience to know which filling will likely be best for your specific needs, but it can never hurt to ask questions and weigh your options when it comes to having a cavity filled!
To schedule your next routine appointment or to schedule your next filling, give us a call at TruBlu Dentistry in Burbank, Chicago, or Hegewisch today!