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Are There Options for Dental Filling Material?
A dental filling helps repair the shape and function of a damaged tooth. It is typically employed in the treatment of cavities but may also be used on fractured and worn teeth. There are several different filling materials available to restore the strength and attractiveness of the tooth.
Dental filling options
The type of filling used depends on the location of the cavity, the extent of the damage, the desired appearance and the cost. Patients may also have allergies to certain materials. Here are four main options for filling materials.
1. Amalgam fillings
Amalgam fillings, also known as silver fillings, are composed of a mixture of metals, including mercury, copper, zinc, tin and silver. An amalgam filling is the least costly and is known for its strength and resistance to wear. It does require more drilling and removal of the original tooth structure than some other choices. Due to the dark color, an amalgam filling is not often used on the front teeth. Amalgam can also cause the remaining part of the tooth to develop a gray hue.
2. Gold fillings
Gold fillings are very durable and can last more than 20 years. Gold is tolerated well by gum tissue but can be very costly. Installing a gold filling requires multiple dental office visits.
3. Tooth-colored composite
Composite fillings are made of acrylic resin and powdered glass. This option is color-matched to the tooth to give a natural appearance. Composite fillings bond directly to the tooth and require less drilling than other types. Unlike other alternatives, the composite material can be used to repair chipped, cracked and worn teeth. It is important to note that this material is not as durable and can become stained over time. The typical lifespan of a composite filling is about five years.
4. Ceramic fillings
Ceramic fillings are usually made of porcelain and can also be matched to the color of the natural tooth. Ceramic is very good at retaining its original color and is less likely to develop stains than composite material. A Ceramic filling is more expensive than composite and may even cost as much as a gold filling.
A dental filling is a minor procedure to save an impaired tooth from further deterioration. During the appointment, the dentist first removes any tooth decay with a drill and then cleans the affected area thoroughly. If the decay was located near the root, the dentist may put in a liner to protect the nerve. Next, the dentist will use the filling material to close off the hole or fill in cracks. This prevents bacteria from entering the area and restores the tooth's health and form.
After receiving a tooth filling, individuals may experience some sensitivity. The pain generally subsides within a few days. To take care of fillings, it is essential that patients continue to brush and floss twice daily.
Many people require a dental filling at some point during their lives. Different filling materials offer various advantages and disadvantages. It is important to discuss the options with the dentist to discover which solution suits your needs and budget.
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