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The average American has three fillings, while 25 percent of the population has 11 fillings or more. A dental filling is one of the simplest ways to fix a decayed or damaged tooth back to its original form and function.
At Jonathan J. Golab, DDS, PA, we will first remove the decay in the tooth, clean the insides, and then close off the hole with a filling material. This will prevent the bacteria from getting inside the tooth and spreading decay.
Types Of Filling Materials
There are many options available for tooth fillings, and all of them have their own sets of benefits and limitations. The five most common types of dental fillings are listed below:
Amalgam has been used to fill cavities for over 150 years, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The fillings are created from a mixture of metals, including mercury, zinc, tin, copper, and silver. Amalgam fillings are very strong and durable and are ideal for filling the teeth at the back of the mouth. These fillings are the least expensive of all fillings.
Since they are silver in color, they are not preferred on the front teeth because they are noticeable when you smile or speak. The silver color is also prone to darken with time.
Sometimes also referred to as resin fillings, composite fillings are made from a mixture of glass and quartz filler and can be colored to match your teeth. Composite fillings are less durable than amalgam fillings and work well for small to midsize cavities, especially on teeth which exert a low pressure, like your front teeth. Since the color of the composite filling matches your teeth, it is virtually invisible. Therefore, they are quite popular.
Nonetheless, composite fillings are not as strong and durable as metal amalgam fillings and can chip over time. The material also stains if you have a habit of consuming dark-colored foods like coffee, tea, and red wine. A composite filling may last three to ten years, depending on how well you take care of it.
Gold fillings are made to order in a laboratory and then fixed into place. These fillings are naturally very expensive and can cost as much as ten times more than a silver amalgam filling. However, it is the strongest type of filling material and hence many people, who can afford the material, prefer gold fillings.
Gold fillings can last for over 15 years.
A ceramic filling is made of porcelain material and is tooth colored. The inlays and onlays are produced in a lab and then cemented in place. This filling covers the major part of the surface of the tooth.
Ceramic fillings are stronger than composite resin filling and are resistant to staining. They are also more natural-looking than composite resin because porcelain mimics the light-reflecting properties of the enamel. They are almost as expensive as gold.
Glass Ionomer Filling
This blend of glass and acrylic is used to create a filling material that releases fluoride to protect teeth. However, it is the weakest of all other types of fillings and may need to be replaced in less than five years. Because of this, this type of filling works well for young children, who lose their baby teeth in a few years.
Depending on the material used, tooth fillings can last for many years before they need to be replaced. If you chew on very hard or sticky substances or have a habit of clenching your teeth, your filling may wear down much sooner.
If you notice any signs of wear and tear on your filling, call Dr. Jonathan Golab at (469) 444-7919 to replace your filling as soon as possible. Continuing to eat with your cracked filling can worsen the damage which will result in you requiring a more costly and invasive procedure. If tooth decay develops around a filling, we may recommend a crown instead of another filling.