It’s likely that at some point in their lives, most people will have to have at least one cavity filled. At Monroe Family Dentistry, we offer three options for filling these holes in your teeth: Silver (amalgam) filling, porcelain, or composite. We’ll explain the difference between the three types of fillings to help give an idea of what type might be right for you the next time you present with a cavity.

What are Cavities, Exactly?

Cavities are holes of varying sizes that form in our teeth caused by tooth decay. They can form at any age and spread to neighboring teeth. Addressing them early on with a tooth filling will keep your mouth healthy and expenses down for future repairs.

Dr. Mjahed will remove the decayed tooth material, clean the area, and then insert the filling where the hole remains.

 Comparing the Three Types of Fillings

Silver or amalgam fillings

The most commonly used due to the expense and ease of installation, though this is slowly changing, as more and more patients are opting for tooth-colored fillings and have concerns about mercury. Amalgam fillings are made of a mixture of mercury, silver, and copper.

Pros of Using Amalgam Fillings

  • Inexpensive
  • Long lasting and durable
  • Easiest to restore
  • Can often be repaired
  • Disadvantages of Using Amalgam Fillings
  • Concerns with mercury toxicity
  • Easily noticeable in the mouth
  • Sensitivity to extreme temperatures from foods like coffee and ice cream
  • Metals can cause allergic reactions
  • Can cause some breakdown of the tooth structure
  • Metal can expand over time, causing cracks and breaks in the tooth

Composite Fillings

Also called, tooth-colored fillings are made from a resin material created by a mixture of plastic and glass. Dr. Mjahed can mix the color to closely match your tooth enamel, for optimal esthetics. The material bonds to the tooth structure and therefore restores much of the original strength of the tooth. They are great options for smaller and mid-sized cavities and last from 3 to 10 years, depending on the location and the care of the teeth. As technology advances, so does the durability of composite fillings.

Pros of Using Composite Fillings

  • Matches the tooth color
  • Bonding process restores original tooth structure
  • Requires less removal of the tooth due to the bonding
  • Can be repaired if damaged
  • Hardens in seconds, compared to days like other filling options
  • Less sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Disadvantages of Using Composite Fillings
  • More labor intensive
  • Slightly higher cost
  • Less longevity
  • Can stain with regular use of coffee, tea, or tobacco

Porcelain Fillings

The most natural-looking fillings available and the best choice for those wanting the best cosmetic results. While it can sometimes take a little while to get accustomed to the feeling of a porcelain filling in your mouth, you will get used to it over time. Porcelain fillings are healthy options and less vulnerable to developing further cavities in the tooth. It is a very strong material resistant to up and down forces caused by chewing.

Pros of Using Composite Fillings

  • Matches the tooth color
  • Durable
  • More hypoallergenic and resistant to infections
  • Resistant to staining
  • Less sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures

Disadvantages of Using Composite Fillings

  • Not as strong with sideways pressure, caused by clenching and grinding
  • Requires more removal of tooth structure
  • Bonding structure may feel strange in the mouth at first
  • Significantly more expensive than composite or amalgam, comparable to the cost of a gold filling

Still uncertain which type of filling is right for you? No problem, give us a call at 704.776.4278 and Dr. Mjahed and his friendly staff will help you weigh the pros and cons of each treatment and make recommendations based on what is best for your particular cavity.

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