Types of Dental Fillings

Dentist Patient

Dental fillings are used to treat cavities which, as the name implies, are small holes in the center of your tooth that cause pain when left untreated. Dentists use several different types of materials to fill cavities. The oldest remedies involve metals. Newer approaches include tooth-colored plastics. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of dental fillings and what you can expect from each.

Gold Fillings

Some folks just like gold in their mouth. For them, gold fillings provide a number of benefits beyond the shiny gold. Gold fillings are highly durable lasting anywhere from ten to fifteen years under ideal circumstances. Since gold doesn’t corrode, there’s no reason why the filling should fall out unless the cavity gets bigger. Gold is excellent at withstanding chewing forces.

The biggest problem with gold is the expense. Most insurance companies will not cover gold fillings even for good reason, and the cost can be up to ten times that of other materials. Gold also requires multiple office visits whereas other materials generally don’t. Lastly, there is a risk with gold that it completes a circuit in your mouth when paired next to a silver filling creating a painful electrical shock.

Silver Fillings and Amalgams

Most silver fillings are 100% silver but metal amalgams. These are more durable than tooth-colored composites and nearly as durable as gold. Other advantages include cost and durability.

However, the metal filling against the whiteness of your teeth is fairly noticeable. Your dentist may need to remove more of your tooth to fit the filling in. They can sometimes discolor the tooth. Some folks are allergic to this type of material. Silver amalgams are more prone to expansion and contraction when introduced to hot or cold liquids making it more likely that they could crack the tooth.

Tooth-Colored Composites

Tooth-colored composites are preferred because they match the color of the tooth and are therefore not noticeable. Composites bond to the tooth better than any other type of material. It may require the removal of less tooth to fill the cavity.

The major downside to tooth-colored composites is that they don’t last as long as metal fillings, and they are more expensive. The process of applying composites takes longer and may require additional dentist visits.

Insurance Considerations

The vast majority of insurance plans will only pay for the cheapest material. While many insurance plans provide the option to get other materials, they will only cover the costs up to the cost of silver amalgam. A patient would be required to pay the difference between the silver amalgam and whichever type of more-expensive filling they purchased.

Learn More About Dental Fillings and Types of Dental X-Rays Today

Peak Family Dental Care provides expert service and care to all of our patients in Cottonwood. If you have any questions concerning fillings, don’t hesitate to call our office today.

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