The different types of dental fillings
There are four broad types of tooth fillings. What’s right for you is determined by a number of factors including the extent of damage, whether you have allergies to certain filling materials, where in the mouth the filling is needed and your budget. Your options include:
- Gold fillings – Made to order in a lab and then cemented into place by a professional dentist, gold fillings are extremely durable. If cemented properly, the filling can stay in place for more than 20 years without any issues. For this reason, most professionals consider gold the best filling material possible. However, it’s also the most expensive option.
- Amalgam (silver) fillings – If you want a relatively cheaper option that is still highly resistant to wear and tear, amalgam or silver fillings is a great option. The only downside is that due to the darker color of amalgam, the fillings are more noticeable than porcelain or composite fillings. This makes them ideal for teeth located at the back of the mouth, such as molars and premolars.
- Composite (plastic) resins – These are the best fillings where natural appearance is desired. The resins are matched to the color of your teeth and placed directly into the cavity where they are hardened. They have two disadvantages however. First, they are easily discolored from coffee, tea and tobacco. Secondly, they tend to chip more easily and typically last only 3-10 years.
- Porcelain fillings (also known as inlays or outlays) – Porcelain fillings are produced to order in a lab and then bonded to the affected tooth. They are extremely resistant to staining and can be matched to the color of your teeth. They are also expensive, however, often costing as much as gold fillings.
What happens in the dentist’s office?
When you first visit Red Bank Smiles, we will examine each suspect tooth using caries-detecting liquid and a dental probe. An X-ray may also be taken to discover the extent and exact location of the damage. Once this has been done, we will advise you on the best filling option based on your medical history, location of the problem and aesthetic needs.
Sometimes, the filling can be done immediately. If not, we’ll arrange for a second appointment during which the procedure will take place.