Posts Tagged ‘fillings’

Dental Fillings

Dental Fillings: What are the types and which is the best?

Whenever a dentist detects a cavity, they will recommend that their patient gets fillings. A filling is where the dentist removes a decayed portion of the tooth and then they fill the area of the tooth with strong material. The filling prevents further tooth decay and maintains the health of your tooth. Exactly what material is used is dependent on a number of factors, from cost, the location and extent of decay, the patient’s insurance coverage, and the dentist’s recommendation. There are many filling options that can potentially be used. This article will explore what types of fillings are available and bet used.

What Kind Of Materials Are Used?

There are many dental fillings on the market today. The fillings available include gold, silver, amalgam, composite resins, and even advanced materials like zirconia and more. During the initial consultation, your dentist will explain the options that you have and the extent of the cavities that need to be filled.  All of these factors are considered when it comes down to the final decision of which material to use for the filling.

Composite Fillings Or White Fillings

Composite fillings also called white fillings, are made from powdered glass quartz, silica or other ceramic particles added to a resin base. Once the tooth is prepared, the filling is bonded onto the area and a light is shone onto the filling in order to set it. The dentist will match the color of the composite fillings to your teeth. They have the advantage of being well suited for use in front teeth or visible parts of the teeth. They actually bond to the tooth structure, providing even more support for the tooth. They are also very versatile in their uses and can be used to repair chipped, broken or worn teeth.  Composite fillings also have the potential to spare more of the tooth structure, as less of the tooth needs to be removed compared with amalgams. However, there are some disadvantages that should be considered. The composite or white filling lacks the same amount of durability as amalgams. Typically, the last 5 years compared to the 10 to 15 years of amalgams. They also may not hold up as long if used for large cavities. They also take longer than amalgam to place, sometimes up to twenty minutes longer than amalgam to place. You may also be required to go to multiple visits to the dentist’s office in order to place the filling. The filling material can also chip, depending on the location. They also cost up to double the cost of amalgam fillings.

Amalgam Fillings or Silver Fillings

Amalgam fillings, known as silver fillings, are made from a combination of mercury and silver alloy. Generally, they are 50% mercury, 35% silver, and 15% tin, copper, and other metals. Amalgams are long-lasting and hard-wearing and have been in use for over 150 years. They also are very durable and can last up to 15 to 20 years. Amalgam fillings are often used in molars and other chewing teeth. The mercury in dental amalgam is not poisonous after it is combined with the other materials in the filling. The chemical nature of the filling changes so that it is harmless. With over 100 years of research into the safety, no reputable study has found a connection between amalgam fillings and any medical problem. Some disadvantages to the amalgams include the destruction of more tooth structure, as a space large enough to hold the amalgam filling is needed to be removed. It can also discolor the tooth, creating a grayish hue to the surrounding tooth structure. It is also possible to experience cracks and fractures as the teeth expand and contract in the presence of hot and cold liquids. Some people, less than 1% of people, may experience an allergic reaction to the mercury in the filling.

Gold Fillings

Gold is one of the most long-lasting and hard-wearing filling materials and will last many years. Gold is a strong material that does not tarnish. One of the differences between the gold and the silver filling is that the gold filling is made in a laboratory. In the meantime, the dentist will place a temporary filling. Once the gold inlay has been made, the dentist will fix it in place with dental cement.  Gold fillings can last 10 to 15 years and often longer. And some people find it more attractive than silver fillings. They do tend to be more expensive, often 10 times higher than amalgam fillings. They also require multiple office visits in order to place them.  If a gold filling is placed next to a silver filling it can cause a sharp shock called a galvanic shock as the silver and gold make an electric current. This is very rare, however.

Zirconia Fillings

Some fillings are made out of ceramics like zirconia which are resistant to staining and can last more than 15 years and can cost as expensive as gold. Porcelain inlays are made in a laboratory and they will need at least two visits to your dentist. Porcelain is hard and long-lasting and is often matched in color with your natural tooth.  You may also be interested in glass ionomer fillings. These actually form a chemical link with the tooth. They release fluoride which helps to prevent further tooth decay. This type of filling is fairly weak, so it is often only used for baby teeth and non-biting surfaces such as around the base of the teeth. It will require some preparation in order to have the filling bond directly to the teeth. 

Which Type Of Filling Is For Me?

Choosing the right filling is always a complicated question. The best way to choose is to review with your dentist about which filling material will best fit your situation and your budget. Your insurance company may cover a portion of the cost of dental fillings. There may even be financial options should you need to do a payment plan.  If you think that you need to fill a cavity, and you live in the Rancho Cucamonga, CA area, give Golden Smiles Dental a call for your consultation at (909) 481-8990. Our expert team will be more than happy to answer your questions.
Dental Fillings

Why Switch to White Composite Fillings?

If you currently have silver amalgam fillings and want to change the filling, you may wonder what a white composite filling offers. Whether it is because you dislike the metal color of the filling, and like many people prefer the natural color of your tooth, a white composite filling is a good choice as an alternative. They are tooth-colored and can be blended by your dentist to match the look of your tooth. In this article, we’ll look at the different types of fillings available and why you might consider going with a white, or composite filling instead.

What is a composite filling? What is an amalgam?

White fillings, also known as composite fillings, are made of a variety of materials, often either resin, with some being made from a ceramic or glass ionomer material. White composite fillings are becoming more and more popular as having a beautiful smile is the most important thing for many patients. White composites offer a better aesthetic and are less invasive than silver amalgam fillings. A silver amalgam filling is made up of an alloy of the metals mercury, silver, copper, tin and zinc which is used to fill cavities. These are often referred to as simply amalgam fillings. This kind of filling has been used by dentists for more than 100 years to fill and preserve decayed teeth. Silver amalgam fillings are very durable, typically lasting 10 to 15 years and they are strong enough to withstand chewing forces and pressures. They also can be less expensive than some other filling materials, but they do not match the tooth’s natural color, putting them at a substantial disadvantage. Silver amalgam fillings and white composite fillings each have different methods of application. Silver amalgam fillings require the dentist to create a mixture of liquid mercury and various other metals. The mixture is then applied to the tooth, where it quickly sets. White composite fillings are applied differently, in a series of layers alternatively hardened before the next layer is applied. A special high intensity light is used to “cure” or hardens the layer. After the layering process  the dentist will then shape and contour the composite material to the shape of your natural tooth before finally trimming and polishing the final restoration.

What is the process of getting a tooth filled?

A filling always begins with a cavity. A cavity is a hole in the tooth caused by the buildup of plaque on the tooth. After a dentist identifies the decay on the tooth, they will then often have to fill the cavity to prevent further decay, or repair a damaged tooth. To treat a cavity, the dentist will first remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then fill the cavity with a filling material. Doing this  will help to prevent the spread of more decay and restores the teeth so they can be used to do their job of chewing and breaking down edible materials. Fillings can also be used to repair cracked or broken teeth, or teeth that have been worn down through bad tooth habits, like nail biting or tooth grinding. The dentist will first apply a local anesthetic in order to numb the area around the tooth. Next, the dentist will use a tool, such as a drill, or air abrasion instrument, or even a laser, to remove the decayed area. The choice of tool depends on the dentist’s skill and training, as well as the location and extent of the cavity and the availability of the equipment. After the drilling, the dentist will check to see if all the decay was removed by probing the site. Satisfied there is no more remaining decay, the dentist will clean the space of germs and debris and then prepare it for filling. Finally, after the filling the dentist will finish and polish the tooth.

What are the benefits of a composite filling?

White composite fillings offer many advantages, the strongest being able to matching the natural color of your teeth. Most people have spent good money on making sure they have a healthy smile. Why would you ruin it with a silver amalgam filling, when you can preserve your smile with a white composite filling? White composite fillings also bond to your tooth structure, which helps to create a stronger support for the filling. They also are extremely versatile. They are used to repair worn, chipped, or broken teeth in addition to filling a cavity. They also spare healthy tooth structure, as less of the structure will need to be removed in order for the cavity to be drilled and set. While composite fillings may require a slightly longer visit, because of the setting process, they offer huge advantages. Some other white fillings also exist on the market, like the previously mentioned glass ionomer. A glass ionomer filling is made of acrylic and a specific type of glass. The glass ionomer will actually release fluoride, which helps protect the tooth from further decay. However, glass ionomer has a short durability, lasting five or fewer years, but newer methods are being developed to prolong their lifespan

Why should I not get a silver amalgam filling?

Silver amalgam fillings may be available at a low cost, but they come with some pretty hefty disadvantages. First, they are not aesthetically pleasing as many people prefer to have their natural tooth color preserve where possible. They also discolor the surrounding tooth structure, often creating a grayish hue. Silver amalgam fillings will also require more destruction of the tooth by the dentist, as healthy parts of the tooth may have to be removed in order for there to be enough room for the use of the amalgam. Silver amalgam fillings are made with elemental mercury, and therefore it carries with it some risk. The mercury used in the filing can decay and become a vapor, that when inhaled in high amounts, can lead to major damage to the brain and kidneys. However, the FDA has found no link between the silver amalgam fillings and health problems, and considers them safe for adults and children over 6. Additionally, for only a small percentage of people, the elemental mercury used in silver amalgam fillings may cause an allergic reaction. As for infants and fetuses, there simply isn’t enough data available for the FDA to make an accurate evaluation on the effect of silver amalgam fillings on their health. The FDA has recently made a statement saying “Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses” and “Pregnant women and persons who may have a health condition that makes them more sensitive to mercury exposure, including individuals with existing high levels of mercury bioburden, should not avoid seeking dental care, but should discuss options with their health practitioner.” When considering silver amalgam fillings, talk with your doctor to make sure that  you have considered all your options, and listen to their recommendation. Consider a white composite filling next time your doctor informs you that you need to have a filling to help preserve your wonderful smile.