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One of the more common routines in dental care is treating a cavity, which is the area of decay in a tooth.
The process includes a dentist cleaning out the affected part of the tooth, leaving a hole or space that needs to be filled to prevent bacteria from entering and causing further decay.
The filling is a way to restore the damaged tooth to its normal function and shape. In that regard, fillers are not a one size fits all.
What’s appropriate for your needs will be determined by the extent of the repair, along with careful consideration to allergies to certain materials.
In that regard, here are the different types of fillings that patients can choose from accordingly:
Silver Amalgam Fillings
This type of filling is the most common type and has been widely used to fill cavities for more than 150 years. It’s strong, durable, and generally less expensive compared to other types.
Just as it’s moniker hints, it is an amalgam of different metals including tin, silver, copper, and mercury.
The last one may ring some warning bells in your head, however, mercury combined with other metals forms an effective, safe, and stable material that poses no health risks.
In that regard, this type of filling is best used for larger areas of decay in parts of your teeth, such as your molars, that endure a more substantial degree of stress daily.
Since this material hardens quickly, it is also suitable for patients who are unable to sit still for an extended period. However, it has its drawbacks.
The material can expand and contract over time, which can create spaces in between the filling and the tooth, allowing new cavities to form in between the cracks.
These are aesthetically pleasing fillings that are popular because the colour typically matches the rest of your teeth.
The materials are a combination of resin and plastic, making it less durable than silver amalgam fillings.
It can release small amounts of fluoride, which is ideal in reducing the risk of further tooth decay.
However, it is pricier than most fillings and will need to be replaced every five years or so.
Arguably combining the best of both worlds of composite and silver amalgam fillings, the ceramic filling is a type that is durable and visually appealing. It is made of porcelain and is resistant to staining.
However, such quality means that it is generally more costly.
Glass Ionomer Fillings
Constructed from a self-hardening mixture of glass and acrylic, this type of filling is designed for small filings and temporary restorations that last less than five years.
In that regard, this is best used for children whose teeth are still changing.
Also, it also releases fluoride, which protects the changing tooth from deteriorating.
Unless you’re a rising star with your eyes set to Hollywood, gold fillings aren’t common.
It is, however, more than just for show as the filling is durable, non-corrosive, and can last for more than 15 years.
Unsurprisingly, it comes at a high price.
Not to mention, it will take more than one dental visit to fit a gold filling properly.