Although it takes less muscles to smile than to frown (as the popular saying goes), keeping those pearls whites at their healthiest and shiniest is no laughing matter. Dental health is now understood within the context of total physical well-being. In other words, sometimes those bleeding gums and sensitive teeth are indicative of a more serious health problem.
Fortunately, for most people, maintaining oral health is a matter of avoiding certain foods, regular flossing and brushing one's teeth at least twice a day. Sometimes, however, even the most fastidious flosser and regular brusher can end up with a cavity.
The Most Common Types of Dental Fillings
Only your dentist can help you decide which filling is the right one to use to fill your cavity. The choice depends on where the cavity is, the degree of tooth decay and, of course, the cost to you. The most common fillings from which you and your dentist can choose are silver amalgam, cast gold, composite resin, ceramic, and glass ionomers.
Amalgam fillings are used to fill cavities in the back teeth and are the least expensive of filling materials. They are strong, highly durable and can put up with a lot of intel chewing action. However, they corrode and tarnish over time.
Gold fillings are not pure gold, but they are more expensive than silver amalgams by as much as six to 10 times. It takes an extra visit to the dentist for a gold filling, but it is as durable as silver amalgam and does not corrode over time.
Composite resin is actually a mixture of plastic and glass particles. It is used as filling in visible parts of the teeth. Priced higher than silver amalgam but less than cast gold, they have the advantage of matching the color of the teeth, but have not been proven to last as long as gold or silver fillings.
Ceramic fillings are made of porcelain and can cost as little as composite resin or more than cast gold. They can match the color of teeth closely like composite resin and are more resistant to staining.
Glass ionomer filling is made up of acrylic and glass components. It costs about as much as a composite resin filling but is not as durable. Glass ionomer fillings do release fluoride, which can help prevent teeth from further decay.
Maintaining dental health is a lifelong task. Decisions such as what type of filling to use to treat cavities should be made only with close guidance from a professional and experienced dentist. Schedule your next dental appointment now.