When tooth decay is compromising the health and functionality of your teeth, dental fillings may be required to halt any decay in its tracks and restore the shape of your natural teeth. Thanks to advances in cosmetic dentistry, several kinds of dental filling can be used to fill cavities. Your preferences, budget, timeframe, health concerns, and the location and severity of your cavities will help you determine which dental filling is best for your teeth.
Many people prefer tooth-colored fillings over silver fillings or gold fillings because they can be made to match the color of the surrounding teeth. If aesthetics are important to you, consider porcelain fillings or composite fillings for restorations that are closely matched to the color of your teeth.
Before getting fillings, some patients decide to get laser tooth whitening—a quick procedure that whitens your teeth with a hydrogen peroxide gel and blue LED light. After the whitening process is complete, the restorations can be matched to the new color of your teeth.
Due to the lower cost of materials, dental amalgam fillings cost less than other types of fillings. However, these kinds of fillings can release mercury vapors when you chew, drink hot drinks, and grind your teeth.
If finance is an issue and you don’t want amalgam fillings, composite fillings are the next most affordable. However, they only last for five to 10 years compared to 15 to 20 years or more for porcelain. When deciding which filling material is best for your teeth, find out what your dental insurance coverage will pay for and choose the longest-lasting solution you can afford.
Concerns about the adverse effects of mercury vapor are leading many people to decide against silver amalgam fillings in favor of non-toxic dental fillings made from porcelain, BPA-free composite resin, or gold.
If you already have amalgam fillings and they don't seem to be causing any problems, you might be ok to keep them in. However, some people find that replacing their amalgam fillings with porcelain fillings or another restorative material improves their health.
Some patients decide to get dental work done leading up to a special occasion like a wedding or trip. To help you plan the timing, keep in mind that an amalgam filling or composite filling can be placed in a single dental visit whereas ceramic fillings and gold fillings take two trips to the dental office.
If you are in a rush but still want ceramic fillings, a temporary filling can be placed until the dental work is complete, so you won't be left with any visible gaps that could compromise your smile in the meantime.
Cavity size also affects the choice of filling material. Ceramic fillings and amalgam fillings are best for larger cavities that are able to hold them securely, whereas composite resin can be used in tiny cavities and on chipped, cracked, or broken teeth.
The best type of filling may be different for each tooth, depending on the location and nature of the cavities. Ask your dentist which filling material would be the most durable, cost-effective, and least invasive for the size and shape of each cavity in your smile.
Taking all of the above factors into account, porcelain fillings are usually the best for restoring tooth structure over the longer term. They’re simply unbeatable in terms of value, safety, durability, looks, and longevity, and that’s why they’ve become the most popular option here in Beverly Hills. For very small cavities surrounded by a sound tooth structure, non-toxic composite fillings may be sufficient.
After the fillings are placed, visiting your dentist regularly and maintaining good oral hygiene will help you prevent recurrent decay. Best of all, taking care of your teeth can help your fillings last longer,