A visit to the dentist is not something that tops most people’s list of favorite activities. However, it is an essential part of your oral health and even your overall health. Research suggests there is a link between oral health and overall health.
It’s not just about staying healthy. A visit to the dentist identifies issues with your teeth, including cavities. The decay can then be removed and the gap in your tooth filled. This prevents further decay and potential tooth loss. Interestingly, advances in dental care and more frequent visits are working. More people than ever before are surviving into old age with their own teeth.
Of course, the trick to getting high-quality tooth care and fillings is to find a reputable dentist, such as this dentist from Neutral Bay known as sparklingdental.com.au. Should they discover you have a cavity they’ll discuss the issue with you and help you to choose the best filling option for your mouth and your budget.
1. Amalgam Fillings
This type of filling has been used for more than 150 years. Although the technique is old, it remains effective. Amalgam fillings are extremely strong and durable, they are likely to last for as long as your teeth!
However, they are composed of several different metals, including liquid mercury. The other components are generally copper, tin, and silver but half of the filling is mercury. This is where issues have arisen as there is an ongoing debate about the safety of mercury.
In sufficient quantities, mercury can cause brain defects and death. The quantity in an amalgam filling is far less than this and the mercury should never escape the filling. But, there is some research that suggests it could cause illness by leaching into the surrounding tissue.
This, coupled with the fact these fillings are black and darken the damaged tooth, means that amalgam fillings are becoming less popular.
However, they are generally the cheapest option, that’s worth noting.
2. Gold Fillings
Unsurprisingly gold fillings consist of gold. In the past gold leaf was literally hammered into the filling! Fortunately, today the dentist creates a mold and can fit a gold filling in just two simple visits.
Gold is strong and extremely durable, this type of filling will also last the rest of your life. However, it is very noticeable in your mouth. This may be the reason that people choose it, they like the bling factor.
Of course, gold is expensive. These filings are roughly ten times more expensive than the conventional filling, which’s not an option for most people.
3. Composite Fillings
It’s safe to say these are the most popular option today. They are slightly more expensive than amalgam fillings but they are virtually invisible. A composite filling is made of ceramic mixed with plastic. The ceramic resin can be adjusted in color to match the color of your teeth, effectively making the filling invisible. The plastic ingredient boosts the strength of the ceramic resin, ensuring these fillings will last for years.
Composite fillings are very easy to do. Your dentist will numb the tooth before removing the decay and then filling the area. It’s usually done in one visit and there is minimal drilling required. This means more of your original tooth is preserved which is useful as these usually have to be reseated every 5-7 years.
Composite fillings are considered the best option for most cases of tooth decay. They are strong, easy to install, and bond the entire tooth structure, potentially improving the strength of your teeth. In addition, they are reasonably priced.
This is the option most insurance companies cover.
4. Ceramic Fillings
Composite fillings are almost invisible, ceramic fillings really are impossible to detect. While the look is perfect they are more cumbersome to fit. In fact, ceramic fillings are effectively hammered into place like gold leaf. This means you’ll normally require two visits to the dentist to ensure it is all positioned properly.
This type of filling looks fantastic. However, the material is more brittle than the composite option, making it more likely that the filling will be damaged during normal use. It’s worth noting that although they are called ceramic filings, the main material used is porcelain.
You should also note that this is an expensive option. Ceramic fillings are not normally an option if you’re having work dine under insurance.
5. Glass Ionomer
Glass ionomer fillings are made out of acrylic and a component of glass called fluoroaluminosilicate. This compound is generally used if you have decay that extends into the root of your teeth. The substance can also be used as a cement for inlay fillings and is frequently used on the front teeth as well as on baby teeth if necessary.
The compound isn’t as strong as composite, they generally last five years and, although similar in color to your teeth, they are not as good a match as composite or ceramic fillings.
However, this type of filling does have great adhesion and is very good at sealing the join line, preventing more bacteria from getting in and causing further issues.
Choosing The Right Filling
In most cases, you’ll be guided by your dentist as to which is most appropriate for the cavity that needs filling. It’s best to avoid amalgam fillings but, if your funds are very low this may be the only option. You should note that amalgam fillings can be replaced later on if required.
Insurance companies will generally cover composite fillings and not anything more expensive. However, you should check your current policy to see what is covered. It can make a big difference to how much the dental treatment costs you.
Fillings should last for years and, in some cases, for a lifetime. That’s why you need to choose the right dentist and the right filling. All you have to do then is take good care of your teeth. That means brushing and flossing daily, you only have one set to last you a lifetime.