If you have a cavity, then you’ll most likely have to have a dental filling once the decayed portion of the tooth is removed. A filling fills the hole that is left behind in your tooth once the dead and deteriorated portion of the tooth has been removed. Before the filling is put in your tooth, though, the dentist will usually numb the area where the tooth’s located before using a drill, air abrasion tool or laser to blast away the decayed area. When it comes time to have your tooth filled, however, there are numerous dental filling options available to you, each of which comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.
As their name implies, gold fillings are made out of gold. These types of fillings have the appearance of gold, which some people might desire while others might not. Some of their advantages is that they are extremely durable, so much so that they tend to last at least 10 years, although many people have their gold fillings for far longer. Because gold fillings are made of gold, they won’t corrode, and they are extremely strong, which means that they can withstand the force that chewing puts on the teeth. However, on the flip side, gold fillings are one of the priciest types of fillings on the market simply because they are made of such a precious metal, and they usually require more office visits to place than other types of fillings. Whereas many other types of fillings can be placed in just one visit, it requires at least two visits to place a gold filling.
Composite fillings are perhaps the most popular types of fillings that most people aspire to get, especially if the filling is going to be located near the front of their mouths where their teeth are clearly visible. Composite fillings have the natural color of the rest of the teeth, and they are designed to chemically bond to the structure of the tooth they’re being placed in, which makes it so that they provide the tooth with additional support. Plus, composite fillings usually allow the dentist to preserve more of the healthy portion of your tooth since not as much preparation is needed to prepare your tooth to accept the filling. Usually, not much, if any, healthy tooth structure needs to be removed to make room for a composite filling. However, although composite fillings might have the most natural look, they aren’t quite as durable as fillings made out of metal. They tend to wear out sooner, but usually last at least five years, sometimes longer with the proper care. Also, because they are the most aesthetically-pleasing option and sometimes have to be replaced if they come out or get chipped or broken, they tend to be the most expensive dental filling option.
Silver fillings, also called amalgams, are, of course, made out of silver. Like gold, they have a long lifespan and tend to last at least 10 to 15 years, usually longer with the proper care. Although not quite as strong as gold fillings, they can withstand chewing forces, and they are less expensive than gold and composite filings. On the other hand, though, these types of fillings tend to be unpopular because of their aesthetic appearance within the house. Many people don’t like metal showing in their mouths, and silver certainly has the traditional metallic appearance that doesn’t match the appearance of the rest of the teeth. Furthermore, silver can sometimes lead to the destruction of more of the tooth since sometimes even healthy parts of the tooth must be removed in order to make enough room to pour a silver filling within the tooth. Also, teeth are much more likely to crack or fracture with silver fillings since these types of fillings can sometimes have a wider degree of expansion within the tool when the hot filling cools and expands. To top it all off, some people who are allergic to silver might experience allergic reactions if they have them used as their dental filling option.
Colgate. “What is a filling?” Retrieved on June 13, 2016, from http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/procedures/fillings/article/what-is-a-filling.
Mouth Healthy. “Dental Filling Options.” Retrieved on June 13, 2016, from http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/dental-filling-options.
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