Which Type of Dental Filling Is Better?

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What Are Dental Fillings?

They are materials that dentists use to restore damaged and decayed teeth. Dental fillings near you are quite popular for restoring tooth cavities. Generally, they restore teeth by replacing the damaged portion of the enamel with a different material.

When you visit a dentist in Pinellas Park, FL, and they find a cavity or a small area of decay in your tooth, they typically recommend filling the tooth as the first treatment measure. After removing the decayed portion of the tooth, a dental filling material fills the resulting hole with a dental filling material.

What Is the Role of Dental Fillings in Maintaining a Healthy Smile?

Dental fillings serve several purposes in oral health, including the following:

  1. Restoring lost or damaged tooth structure to regain optimal function of the tooth.
  2. Prevent further decay by sealing off the hole or cavity to prevent bacteria from entering and causing infection.
  3. Strengthening and supporting a weak tooth structure, preventing fractures or breakage.

When Do You Need Dental Fillings?

The most common reason you may need a dental filling is if you have a cavity or decay in your tooth. In a cavity, bacteria in your mouth produce acids that erode the tooth enamel, leaving a hole or a cavity. If left untreated, cavities can progress and cause further damage to your tooth, leading to pain, infection, and even tooth loss.

Other signs and indicators that you may need a dental fillings near you include:

  1. Feeling tooth pain after eating or drinking hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods or beverages
  2. A visible hole or pit in your tooth – may be a sign of a progressed cavity.
  3. Pain or discomfort when biting down or chewing
  4. Discoloration or dark spots on your tooth
  5. Broken or cracked tooth

Types of Dental Fillings

There are different types of tooth filling materials available at Confident Smile Dentistry, including:

  1. Amalgam fillings: These are the most common materials, featuring a mixture of metals, including silver, tin, copper, and mercury. Amalgam fillings are strong and durable, making them ideal for restoring the back teeth. However, they have a silver color, which may be noticeable in the mouth. As such, many patients are uncomfortable having a conspicuous filling on their front teeth.
  2. Composite fillings: These are perfect aesthetically pleasing alternatives to amalgams. They comprise a tooth-colored resin material called composite. Dentists can match these fillings to the color of your natural teeth, making them a popular choice for the front teeth. Besides, they bond well with the tooth structure for a natural-looking effect. However, amalgam fillings may be more durable and sturdy.
  3. Ceramic or porcelain fillings: These fillings are alternatives to composite fillings. They comprise tooth-colored ceramics or porcelain materials custom-made in a dental laboratory. Porcelain fillings are easy to match to the color of natural teeth. Ceramic fillings are strong, durable, and resistant to staining, making them ideal for front and back teeth restoration. However, it takes time to prepare porcelain fillings in the lab. Therefore, you will not have immediate restorations.
  4. Glass ionomer fillings: These are unique fillings, often preventive materials in preventive dentistry. They feature a mixture of acrylic and glass materials, giving a transparent appearance that does not stand out when you smile. Some glass ionomers have an incredible mechanism for releasing fluoride, which helps prevent dental decay. Glass ionomer fillings are perfect for baby teeth or non-load-bearing areas, usually with dental sealants.

How Do You Know Which One to Choose?

The choice of filling material depends on various factors, including:

  1. Size and location of the cavity: Large cavities may require stronger materials like amalgam or ceramic fillings, while smaller cavities may be filled with composite resin.
  2. Aesthetic concerns: All teeth visible when you smile, or talk are best restored with a filling material that matches natural teeth’ color, like composite or ceramic fillings.
  3. Allergies or sensitivities: Some people may be allergic to materials like amalgam.
  4. Durability and longevity: Composite fillings may not be as durable or sturdy as their counterparts and may need to be replaced more frequently.
  5. Cost: Amalgam fillings are typically less expensive than composite or ceramic fillings.
  6. Insurance coverage: Some insurance plans may only cover certain filling materials or require a co-payment for more expensive materials like ceramic fillings.