Types of Dental Fillings

December 17, 2018

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With all the information that is out there to filter through when it comes to your teeth and oral care, Three Rivers Family Dentistry in Murfreesboro, TN would like to provide you with some information around the types of dental fillings for when it may be time for you to get this simple procedure completed. There are several different types of fillings and they each have their advantages and disadvantages and we feel that it is important to understand all aspects of everything that may be going in your mouth from a health perspective. There can be both short and long term implications so before you make that decision on the type of dental filling you want, check out our list of dental filling types.

Amalgam Dental Fillings

amalgam fillingsAmalgam is a mixture of silver, tin, zinc, copper and mercury. Mercury is nearly 50% of the mixture. This is your more traditional type of filling that you will typically see. (non-bonded). These are primarily used for fillings in the back teeth and can last for at least 10 years and usually even longer. This is the least expensive type of restorative material and is a very strong filling that is less sensitive to moisture.

Some disadvantages are that amalgam fillings don’t match the color of your teeth and can corrode over time. Amalgam fillings are not bonded to your teeth and requires your dentist to cut ledges in your existing tooth to keep it in place. Some people may also be allergic to Mercury which is something to consider.

Composite Resin Dental Fillings

composite resin fillingsComposite resin fillings are a mixture of plastic and fine glass particles.There are both direct and indirect options. Direct fillings are placed by your dentist using a bright blue light that hardens the soft material. For indirect fillings, your dentist prepares the tooth and takes an impression of it. A laboratory or the dentist then will make the filling from the mold. During a second visit, your dentist cements this filling into place. These are small and large fillings, especially in front teeth or the visible parts of teeth.They last least five years or more and cost more than amalgam but less than some other type of fillings. These also will match the color of your teeth, can be completed in one dental visit, and is bonded to the tooth which makes the tooth stronger than with an amalgam filling.

Some disadvantages of composite fillings are mainly that it may cost a bit more and that they may not last quite as long requiring another dental visit between the 5-10 year timeframe. If there are gaps in your teeth, you could be more susceptible to cavities.

Cast Gold Dental Fillings

gold cast fillingsThese are made of gold alloy (gold mixed with other metals) and used for Inlays and onlays, crowns. They can last for at least 15 years, usually longer and cost more than most other materials; 6 to 10 times more expensive than amalgam. Gold doesn’t corrode which is the reason for the long lifetime and longest of all fillings, and some people prefer gold color over the silver color of amalgam.

Disadvantages include you must visit the dentist at least twice to receive a gold filling. At the first visit, the dentist makes an impression of your tooth and places a temporary filling. The gold filling is made from the impression which is placed at a second visit. The cost is higher because of the higher cost of gold and the work involved. If gold and amalgam fillings are right next to each other in your mouth, an electric current can result from interactions between the metals and your saliva. This can cause discomfort, called “galvanic shock.”

Ceramic Dental Fillings

ceramic fillingsThese are made of porcelain, most commonly and used for Inlays and onlays, crowns, veneers, implants, and orthodontic brackets. They typically last more than seven years and the cost is generally more than composite and can cost as much as gold depending on the filling. Ceramic fillings are tooth-colored and are more resistant to staining and abrasion than composite resin.

Some disadvantages of ceramic fillings are that they are more brittle than composite resin and can break. A ceramic inlay or onlay needs to be large enough to prevent it from breaking. This means that the tooth must be reduced in size to make room for the extra bulk.

Glass Ionomer Dental Fillings

glass ionomer fillingsThese are made of acrylic and a component of glass called fluoroaluminosilicate. In a traditional filling, the material sets without a bright light. Resin-modified or hybrid composite glass ionomer fillings are stronger than traditional ones. A bright blue light is used to set the material. These are  most commonly used as cement for inlay fillings. It also is used for fillings in the front teeth, or around the necks of your teeth, or in roots. As filling material, glass ionomer is typically used in people with a lot of decay in the part of the tooth that extends below the gum (root caries). It is also used for filling baby teeth and as a liner for other types of fillings. They generally last for five years or more and are comparable in cost to composite resin. Glass ionomer matches the color of the teeth, but not always as well as composite resin. Resin-modified glass ionomer is usually a better match than traditional glass ionomer. Glass ionomers release fluoride, which can help protect the tooth from further decay and restorations bond (stick) to the tooth. This helps to prevent leakage around the filling and further decay.

Disadvantages of glass ionomer fillings is they are significantly weaker than composite resin. It is much more likely to wear or fracture. A resin-modified glass ionomer filling needs to be applied in thin layers. Each layer must be cured, or hardened, with a special bright blue light. Then the next layer can be added. This makes the tooth stronger, but can lengthen the time of the dental appointment. Traditional glass ionomer does not match your tooth color as precisely as composite resin.

At Three Rivers Family Dentistry in Murfreesboro, TN, Dr. Mark Connolly has provided all types of dental fillings for his patients depending on their unique circumstances and and health conditions. Give us a call today for all your dental fillings and oral care needs. You may also fill out our online form to schedule an appointment.


About Three Rivers Family Dentistry

cosmetic dentists murfreesboro tennesseeThree Rivers Family Dentistry in Murfreesboro, TN is dedicated to quality care and compassion to all of our patients dental needs. Our staff of professionally trained dentists, dental hygienists, and office staff are here to serve you each and everyday with the most thorough dental services in middle TN. Dr. Mark Connolly has the experience and abilities to handle all of you and your families needs when it comes to dental and oral procedures. Our staff can help you with every day dental cleanings, implant restoration, periodontal services, dentures, root canals and more.

In addition, our dental practice is very friendly and welcomes families with children of all ages. We have an area for children to play and read in the waiting room area that your kids will love. We help to ensure the process of taking your children to the dentist is fun and caring so your children will learn to want to keep their teeth and overall oral hygiene clean.

We work with most insurance providers and will help you with any insurance claims that you may have. Our staff will handle all of the processing and forms to ensure that your insurance provider is up to date with the correct information.

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