If you are scheduled to have a dental filling procedure, you may be wondering what “filling” really means. Dentists use different types of dental filling materials depending on cost factors, where the tooth is located, and the patient’s preferences and needs.
Commonly used dental filling materials are silver amalgam, gold, porcelain, and composite resin.
Composite resin is primarily the only type of dental filling material we use here in our Grosse Pointe dental office for several reasons.
Gold, Porcelain and Silver Amalgam Dental Filling Materials
The various types of dental filling materials have their downfalls, making composite resin the best option for everyday dental procedures.
1. Silver Amalgam Fillings
Silver amalgam has been used for decades, but its use is not as common as it once was.
It is a silver-colored material made of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper. About half of a dental amalgam is elemental mercury, which allows it to bind together with the alloy particles to form an amalgam.
Advantages of using this type of dental filling material include its affordability, strength, and durability. It is also a relatively simple procedure.
However, there are several downfalls.
- It is not the same color as your natural teeth.
- Over time, a silver amalgam may make your entire tooth appear grayish.
- It may crack or fracture as the material expands and contracts.
- Dentists may need to remove more of the tooth than necessary to ensure that the amalgam binds correctly to the tooth.
Most significantly, silver amalgam fillings tend to weaken the tooth around them, leading to cracks. This is a primary reason why we have veered away from using this type of dental filling material in our office. In fact, we see many patients come in here with cracks in their teeth due to other dentists’ use of silver amalgam way past its prime.
2. Gold Dental Fillings
Although it is not very common, some dentists still use gold to fill teeth. It is a very strong and durable option that can last for many years.
However, they are very expensive. Gold tooth enhancements are really made of gold, for the most part, although other metals may be mixed in. In fact, gold fillings can be nine times more expensive than composite resin dental fillings.
The color of gold fillings also does not blend in with the natural color of teeth.
3. Porcelain for Dental Procedures
Porcelain can be even more expensive than gold in regard to dental procedures, although it is the longest-lasting solution.
It’s not often used as a dental filling material, but it is commonly used for crowns and cosmetic dental procedures.
Composite Resin Dental Fillings: The Best Material for Strong, Natural-Looking Teeth
Composite resin fillings have also been used for many years, although they are newer than silver-colored fillings. Where most fillings were made of silver-colored materials in the past, composite resin fillings have become more common.
Composite resin fillings, also known as white fillings, are made of a plastic and ceramic compound. The color is almost exactly like your natural teeth, making aesthetics their greatest benefit.
An additional advantage is that composite fillings adhere to the tooth easily. Therefore, unlike silver filling procedures, there is typically no need to drill away any more of the tooth than necessary.
This type of dental filling material is also relatively affordable. Composite resin fillings are more expensive than silver amalgams, but not by very much. The average cost of one silver amalgam filling is $110 to $200, while a white composite resin filling is about $135 to $240.
If you need a dental filling, make an appointment today to see our dentist in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Schedule a dental appointment online or call us at (313) 379-5726.