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What Are The Different Types of Fillings?

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When it comes to getting a filling, there are several options available to patients. Different types of fillings have different benefits and considerations, so it’s important to understand the differences in order to make an informed decision about which one is right for you. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of fillings, compare their benefits and drawbacks, and make some recommendations based on specific situations.

Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam fillings are made from a combination of metals, including silver, tin, copper, and mercury. These fillings have been used for over 150 years and are still commonly used today. Amalgam fillings are durable, long-lasting, and relatively inexpensive. They also have the advantage of being able to withstand the forces of chewing, making them a good option for molars and other back teeth.

However, amalgam fillings are not aesthetically pleasing, as they are silver in color and can darken over time. Additionally, some patients may have concerns about the use of mercury in these fillings, although research has shown that the amount of mercury released is very small and generally not harmful to most people.

Composite Fillings

Composite fillings are made from a mixture of plastic and glass, and can be matched to the color of the patient’s teeth, making them a more aesthetically pleasing option than amalgam fillings. They are also versatile and can be used on both front and back teeth.

However, composite fillings are not as durable as amalgam fillings and may need to be replaced more frequently. They are also more expensive than amalgam fillings and may not be covered by insurance.

Ceramic Fillings

Ceramic fillings are made from porcelain and are also tooth-colored, making them a good option for visible teeth. They are durable and long-lasting, and do not contain any metal, making them a good option for patients with metal allergies.

However, ceramic fillings are more expensive than other types of fillings, and may require more than one visit to the dentist for placement. They are also more brittle than other types of fillings and may not be a good option for larger fillings.

Glass Ionomer Fillings

Glass ionomer fillings are made from a mixture of acrylic and glass, and release fluoride to help prevent tooth decay. They are typically used for small fillings in children, or as a temporary filling for adults.

Glass ionomer fillings are not as strong or durable as other types of fillings, and may need to be replaced more frequently. They are also more susceptible to wear and tear from chewing and may not be a good option for larger fillings.

Gold Fillings

Gold fillings are made from a mixture of gold, copper, and other metals, and are the most durable and long-lasting type of filling available. They are also biocompatible and do not corrode, making them a good option for patients with metal allergies.

However, gold fillings are the most expensive type of filling, and may not be covered by insurance. They are also not aesthetically pleasing, as they are gold in color and may be visible when the patient talks or smiles.

Recommendations

For patients who are looking for a durable and long-lasting filling, and do not have concerns about the aesthetics of the filling, an amalgam or gold filling may be the best option. For patients who are concerned about the appearance of the filling and are willing to pay a higher cost, a ceramic or composite filling may be the best choice. For children or patients with small fillings, a glass ionomer filling may be appropriate.

Ultimately, the decision about which type of filling to use should be made in consultation with a dentist, who can evaluate the specific situation and make a proper evaluation.

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