When built-up plaque and tartar begin to erode your tooth enamel, the tooth itself begins to decay. This decay must be removed or all of the tooth will die and fall out. Removing the decayed area may leave a hole in part of your tooth which needs to be covered with a filling. Dentists now have several filling materials available to preserve your tooth and restore your smile.
Choose a family dentist or general dentist who offers fillings that can be made from amalgam, gold, composite resin or porcelain. Your dentist can help you decide which filling is best for you based on cost, along with your dental and lifestyle needs. Amalgam is the traditional silver material used for dental fillings. It is made of a mixture of materials including mercury, tin, copper, and silver. Although highly durable and cheaper than other filling material, amalgam has led to some health concerns because of the materials used. It also does not look natural in your mouth. Some dental patients like the look of a gold filling because they feel it adds a touch of style to their mouth. Although they are highly durable, gold fillings are also extremely expensive.
Composite fillings are made of a mixture of plastic resin and finely ground glasslike or quartz particles. These can be combined to form a more natural tooth-colored filling. Composite fillings are durable, but not as durable as amalgam, and are best used for small- to mid-size fillings. Although less drilling is required because of the natural appearance, getting the coloring to match closely to your natural teeth may take a bit more time than placing an amalgam filling in your mouth. Patients who consume drinks with high alcohol content on a daily basis are not good candidates for composite fillings because their structural integrity might become severely weakened.
Porcelain or ceramic fillings are also natural in color, but more resistant to staining than the composite resin. They are chemically bonded to your tooth and have proven to be extremely durable.
ChooseYourDentist.com is your go-to source for dental information and dental education. If you are interested in learning more about fillings, use our dental profiles to help find a family dentist or general dentist who can help because ChooseYourDentist.com is "where patients and dentists meet."