What Material is Used in a Dental Filling?

What Material is Used in a Dental Filling?

Sometimes, even when you take excellent care of your oral hygiene, you may still get a cavity. It can happen to the best of us. You may wonder about the materials we use to fill your cavity.

That can depend on a few factors, including the depth of the cavity, how much you can afford to spend, and whether or not you have any allergies. In this blog, Dr. Anette Betancor of Dente Complete Dentistry explains the most common materials used in dental fillings.

When do you need a filling?

You need a filling when you have a cavity forming in your teeth. Also known as dental caries, cavities tend to get bigger over time, although it may be possible to reverse the process if it's caught early enough. 

To seal up a cavity, Dr. Betancor will first numb your mouth. Then, she will drill the decayed part of your tooth to remove it. Finally, she will place a dental filling to seal it and protect it from further decay.

Usually, a filling is not a dental emergency, but it can be urgent if you have lost a filling.

The materials used in dental fillings

We may use one of several materials to make your dental filling. Which material we use depends on several factors, including cost, appearance, the extent of your cavity, and whether or not you have any sensitivity to metals. The materials include:

Glass ionomer restorations

These fillings are made of glass ionomers, which gives them an appearance similar to your natural teeth. They stick to your teeth, releasing fluoride into your teeth and preventing the decay from spreading. The downside of these types of fillings is that they may not last as long as other fillings.

Composite fillings

Composite fillings are similar to ones made of glass ionomers. They are also tooth-colored and are made with resin and silica, powdered glass quartz, or other ceramic particles. The filling is bonded to your teeth by shining a light onto it. Although the dentist tries to choose a shade close to your natural tooth color, some staining may occur over time.

Amalgam fillings

These fillings are made of silver amalgam, which is silver combined with mercury. Although some people may worry about the mercury in these fillings, you don’t need to be concerned. The chemical nature of mercury changes and becomes harmless.

The advantage of these fillings is that they’re very inexpensive and last for a long time. The disadvantage of these fillings is that they’re noticeable. Although they have been safely used and studied for over 100 years, some people still prefer not to expose themselves to mercury.

Gold inlays and onlays

These fillings are made of gold, the strongest and longest-lasting metal. It can withstand a lot of wear and will last for a very long time. However, it is more expensive and time-consuming to make.

The dentist makes an impression of your cavity and then sends it to a laboratory for finishing. When it gets back, the dentist will apply it to your tooth, but it should last for a long time.

If you have a cavity that needs to be filled, you don’t need to be nervous. Your tooth will be secure and free from decay for many years. Contact Dr. Anette Betancor at Dente Complete Dentistry or request an appointment online.

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