Fillings, as their name implies, are simply material that fills in the part of a tooth that needs to be removed because it is decayed. And while everyone knows about silver fillings, at Gentle Dental there are other options available.
When a filling is needed
Dental decay usually starts innocently enough. You may get a little lackadaisical with your brushing, or lazy about flossing. What starts as some residual food in the pit of one of your molars soon becomes a magnet for bacteria, which eats the sugars in the food. Those bacteria, if left to their own devices, then start to attack the tooth’s enamel. Eventually, like a cat burglar, it breaks into the tooth and a pocket of decay forms.
Fortunately, your twice-yearly checkups at Gentle Dental will find the decay, remove it, clean out the now empty area of the tooth, and insert a filling.
Types of fillings
Today patients have more choice when it comes to dental fillings. Here are your options.
Silver amalgam — Made of 50% mercury mixed with silver, copper, tin, or zinc, silver amalgam fillings sound like a miner should place them. They are the most popular filling type because they are the least expensive option. Silver amalgam fillings last 10 years or longer.
Composite — Made of resin, composite fillings are very close to the color of your natural tooth, so they can’t be seen when you open your mouth. They do not last as long as silver amalgam fillings and are more expensive.
Ceramic or porcelain — Like composite, the color of ceramic or porcelain fillings closely matches that of a natural tooth. These fillings are also very durable, but more expensive than silver amalgam or composite.
Glass ionomers — These fillings are made of a combination of acrylic and glass. Lasting less than five years, they are recommended for children with baby teeth. These fillings are designed to also release fluoride, helping strengthen the teeth.
Gold — The most expensive option, gold fillings are also the most durable. They last at least 15 years on average.
Call us at Gentle Dental to schedule your next checkup, (732) 549-5660.