Tips to Pick the Right Fillings for Your Teeth

A dental restoration or filling is needed if one gets decay and/or has trauma or wear on a tooth. A filling replaces the damaged portion of the tooth. If decay or trauma is left untreated, decay and other issues can worsen with time and could lead to pain, infection and can even lead to tooth loss. Immediate care is prudent and generally more comfortable and the most affordable.

There are different types of restorations or fillings to choose from, and each varies in look, cost, function, and material. We are happy to discuss your options with you and can help you choose the right filling type for your teeth.

Here is a list of different types of fillings and some general pros and cons that will help you choose the one that best suits your needs or desired outcome.

1. Composite Restoration Fillings

Composites are the most commonly used restorative material. They are tooth-colored and can be placed to look natural. They are made of resin and powdered glass. We may recommend this filling type if you have a small or medium-sized cavity.

Pros

  • These fillings can be customized to match the color of your teeth.
  • They bond directly to the tooth, so little or conservative drilling can usually be accomplished to save natural tooth structure.
  • One visit is all that is required to have a composite restoration placed.

Cons

  • Composite fillings can discolor or stain over time.
  • Depending upon the size of the damaged tooth that needs to be removed and location in the mouth, they can need to be replaced as often as every 2 years. The general goal is for a lifespan of 5 to 7 years for most locations in the mouth

2. Glass Ionomer Restoration & Fillings

These fillings are made of fine glass powders and acrylic acids. They are usually recommended to fill the baby teeth and small areas of decay on the front teeth. They can also be used to fill areas between the teeth or if you have a cavity near your gum line.

Pros

  • These fillings release fluoride, which helps to prevent decay.
  • They can be customized to match the color of your teeth.

Cons

  • Glass Ionomers are not as strong compared to composite fillings, so they are not a good choice for a tooth that experiences a lot of chewing.
  • They are less durable.

3. Amalgam Restoration Fillings

These fillings are made of different metals, and the typical main components are copper, mercury, zinc, silver, and tin. Your dentist may recommend this filling type if you have a cavity on your back teeth.

Pros

  • Amalgam fillings are inexpensive.
  • They can withstand chewing.
  • They can last for more than 15 years.

Cons

  • They do not match the color of your teeth, so they are much more noticeable
  • They may be sensitive to cold or hot temperatures for a few days after you receive a filling.
  • They can discolor over time.
  • They contain materials that a portion of the population does not want in their mouth anymore due to our other more beautiful options. Frankly, it is rare we use these restorations but, no studies have been able to unequivocally state that the materials are a health concern.
  • Long term the amalgam restoration can cause micro-fractures radiating from the restoration, and a crown or full coverage restoration is the only next option upon replacement.

4. Crowns

A dental crown is required to protect a tooth that is damaged by decay, support a heavily-filled tooth (a tooth that has little natural tooth remaining), or restore a broken tooth. You can choose a crown that is made of a glass-like substance, porcelain, ceramic, ceramic baked to metal crown, or a full metal crown.

Pros

  • Dental crowns can be customized to match the color of your teeth.
  • They are strong and can last for 15 years or more. (Although a dental “success” is 5 years.

Cons

  • Crowns may require a couple of dental visits and can be a more expensive option compared to other options.
  • Cracks and chips can occur if the crowns are not taken care of, and it is difficult to repair a crown. Usually, a full replacement would be indicated.

5. Gold Restoration “Fillings”

They are made of gold and other metals. They are indirect fillings (made outside the mouth and then installed back into the mouth to function) and mostly used for fixed bridges, inlays, and crowns in the less visible areas of your mouth. Your dentist may recommend this filling type for back teeth or cavities that are less visible to aid in longevity and fewer replacements over a lifespan.

Pros

  • Gold fillings are very durable and safe.
  • They do not stain.
  • They are the absolute least susceptible restoration to wear and tear. It is not uncommon for a person when they have routine dental health appointments with hygiene visits (at minimum two per year), a gold restoration can last 50 years!

Cons

  • These fillings do not match the color of your teeth.
  • They are more costly compared to other filling types.
  • May require a couple of dental appointments to finish the care.

6. Silver-Colored Crowns

Silver-colored crowns are typically made from different metals. They are made of palladium and other silver-colored metals. They are mostly used for partial dentures, crowns, and fixed bridges.

Pros

  • Silver cast restorations are strong and less prone to wear or break.
  • They are more affordable due to the metal or material choice.
  • They can last for 5 to 15 years or more.

Cons

  • Silver color can be noticeable, as the color does not match the rest of your teeth.
  • Rarely are they sensitive to cold and hot temperatures in a transitory manner, but it is temporary.

7. Veneers

Veneers are a cosmetic option to improve the form and function esthetics of a smile. Often several veneers are placed at one time to improve a smile, but sometimes just one or two veneers are placed due to trauma or chipping of a tooth or teeth. It is FUN for the patient and dental team alike to transform a smile with one or many veneers!

Pros

  • Veneers are typically the most beautiful option available for a smile. The shape and color are as flawless as possible.
  • They wear less than a free form composite-style one visit restoration option.

Cons

  • At least two visits are typically required to restore your mouth to beauty and function.
  • The cost is more than a quick, one-visit composite restoration.

Consult with our team of dentists at Smile Arizona Dentistry when choosing the right filling type. We can discuss the possible options and help you choose the filling type that effectively restores the function and appearance of your teeth.

Contact us today or schedule an appointment to learn more about restorative options and choices and how they can improve your beautiful smile and oral functionality.

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Smile Arizona Dentistry

Smile Arizona Dentistry provides high-quality preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dental solutions, and is located in Scottsdale, AZ. We have cutting-edge modern dental technologies, exceptionally skilled and compassionate dentists, pleasant environment, and amazing staff members, available at your service. We also proudly serve the patients coming from nearby communities, including Tempe, Mesa, and Phoenix.

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