When you get a cavity, you can feel it. You notice that it aches when you eat certain foods, and you wince when you drink hot or cold beverages. We don’t need to tell you that it’s not a pleasant feeling. If you need a filling, you might be wondering what your options are.
Fillings are used to replace the decayed material in a tooth. The dentist begins by numbing the patient’s mouth. Then, they use a drill to remove the decayed material within the cavity. Once the tooth is cleaned, they insert the filling. But which type will be best for you? Let’s go over the different types of fillings that are used to stop cavities in their tracks:
Also known as silver fillings, this material is most commonly used to fill cavities in the back of the mouth. This is because it tends to catch the eye with its reflective properties. Dentists have been using amalgam fillings for over 100 years. It’s an affordable material that is strong and long-lasting, which is perhaps why it is the most commonly used type. They are made of a mix of materials that include mercury, copper, tin, and silver.
Even though this filling has a noticeable colour, some patients like the look of it. They’re more expensive than amalgam (a lot more expensive), but they can last up to 15 years before they need a replacement. Even if you don’t like the look of metal in your mouth, it’s hard to compete with the endurance of cast gold fillings. They often take more than one appointment to install.
This material can be matched to the shade of your natural teeth and shaped to fit your bite. It’s made of a resin with glass, plastic, or quartz. Sometimes, it’s used to fix small chips or gaps in the teeth. Composite fillings are not as durable as metal ones. They also tend to be more expensive. Many patients still choose them due to their ability to blend in with other teeth.
A ceramic filling can resist staining better than a composite one. It’s usually as expensive as a gold filling (sometimes even more expensive), can last just as long, and is less visible because of its colour. Porcelain fillings are durable enough to be placed in any area of the mouth, from front teeth to back molars. This ceramic material is not recommended for those who grind their teeth.
Made of acrylic and glass, this type of filling is not as durable as the others that we mentioned above. It’s not used in molars for this reason; we tend to bite down harder with our back teeth. One advantage is that glass ionomer fillings contain fluoride, which can prevent future decay from occurring. They’re also coloured to match the surrounding teeth so that the filling is not noticeable. The material tends to be less expensive than gold fillings, but it only lasts up to 5 years.
Who knew that cavities had so many solutions? The next time you are in the dentist’s chair, ask about which type of filling will be right for you. EK Dental offers fillings and routine check-ups in Winnipeg. Our dentists will be happy to help you maintain a beautiful smile!