Types Of Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are a specific type of dental installation that are used for smaller cavities and areas of decay. Unlike dental crowns, which are installed over a deteriorated tooth in order to rebuild the structural integrity of that specific tooth, dental fillings are designed to fit into a relatively intact tooth and maintain the existing structural integrity. There are several different types of materials that dental fillings can be made out of, each of which possesses a different set of characteristics. Understanding the variation between each available type of dental filling can help you choose the best one for your dental health needs.

Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam fillings are the most commonly installed variant of dental filling, mostly due to the fact that they are the most affordable filling option available. Like their name would suggest, amalgam fillings are made out of a collection of different metals that are bonded together for maximum durability.

However, amalgam fillings are not always ideal, despite their strength. This is because they have the appearance of metal, which means that they cannot be installed on teeth that are visible when you smile without ruining the aesthetic of your smile. Further, amalgam fillings can require excessive cutting and shaving of your existing teeth in order to be properly and securely installed.

Composite Fillings

Composite fillings are designed out of a mixture of plastics and glass and will match the appearance of the teeth that they are installed in. They require less cutting and drilling of the actual tooth than amalgam teeth do, which can reduce the overall amount of discomfort during the installation process.

However, composite fillings are not as durable as their amalgam counterparts and can take longer (i.e. multiple visits) in order to be properly installed. In addition, over time composite fillings can shrink, creating a gap between the filling and tooth where food can get stuck and further rot and wear can take place.

Ceramic Fillings

Ceramic fillings are most commonly made out of porcelain, which means that they can easily match the appearance of surrounding teeth. They are quite durable and will be able to withstand the pressure of chewing very well. They will also not shrink like composite fillings will, and are much more resistant to staining and discoloration.

However, ceramic fillings tend to be quite expensive, which makes them the less than ideal option for patients with a tight budget or without extensive insurance. Further, porcelain can have difficulty with hot foods and may crack if exposed to excessive heat. A dentist like Crest Hill Family Dental will be able to help you choose the best kind of filling for your lifestyle!