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Ask the Experts
Fillings help restore teeth damaged by decay back to their normal function, and can prevent further decay. Your dentist will consider a number of factors when choosing which type of filling material is best for you. These factors include the extent of the repair, where in your mouth the filling is needed and the cost.
Which Type of Filling is Best?
No one type of filling is best for everyone. What’s right for you will be determined by the extent of the repair, whether you have allergies to certain materials, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and the cost. Considerations for different materials include:
Gold fillings are made to order in a laboratory and then cemented into place. Gold inlays are well tolerated by gum tissues, and may last more than 20 years. For these reasons, many authorities consider gold the best filling material. However, it is often the most expensive choice and requires multiple visits.
Amalgam (silver) fillings are resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive. However, due to their dark color, they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not usually used in very visible areas, such as front teeth.
Composite (plastic) resins are matched to be the same color as your teeth and therefore used where a natural appearance is desired. The ingredients are mixed and placed directly into the cavity, where they harden. Composites may not be the ideal material for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time. They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco, and do not last as long as other types of fillings generally from three to 10 years.
Porcelain fillings are called inlays or onlays and are produced to order in a lab and then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the color of the tooth and resist staining. A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth. Their cost is similar to gold.
Made of: A mixture of plastic and fine glass particles.
Types: Direct and indirect. Direct fillings are placed by your dentist using a bright blue light that hardens the soft material. For indirect fillings, your dentist prepares the tooth and takes an impression of it. A laboratory or the dentist then will make the filling from the mold. During a second visit, your dentist cements this filling into place.
Used for: Small and large fillings, especially in front teeth or the visible parts of teeth; also for inlays
Lasts: At least five years
Costs: More than amalgam, but less than gold
AdvantagesYour fillings or inlay will match the color of your teeth. A filling can be completed in one dental visit. An inlay may require two visits. Composite fillings can bond directly to the tooth. This makes the tooth stronger than it would be with an amalgam filling. Less drilling is involved than with amalgam fillings. That’s because your dentist does not have to shape the space as much to hold the filling securely. The bonding process holds the composite resin in the tooth. Indirect composite fillings and inlays are heat-cured. This step increases their strength. Composite resin can be used in combination with other materials, such as glass ionomer, to provide the benefits of both materials.
Why are aesthetic filling implementations necessary?
Nowadays, the purpose of dental treatments is that they are satisfactory both visually and functionally. For this reason, the main goal is to make fillings suit the natural tooth structure as color and shape, fill the gaps so that they are not apparent and make the filled tooth indistinguishable from a natural tooth.