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How to Pick the Right Fillings for Your Teeth

Fillings That Look Like Your Teeth

Composite fillings are the most widely used dental filling material nowadays. They’re made of a mixture of glass, quartz, and ceramics in resin. Your dentist may choose a composite filling if the size of your cavity is small to medium, or if your tooth gets a lot of chewing action.

Composite fillings can also be closely matched to your natural tooth color, which makes them ideal for fillings on your front teeth, or anywhere you may not want to see a metal filling.

Advantages:

  • Composite fillings are tooth-colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth.
  • Spare more of the original tooth during the filling process.

Cons:

  • Composite fillings can stain or discolor over time, just like your teeth.
  • They can wear down quicker and amalgam fillings so may need replacement sooner.

Fillings That Release Fluoride

The newer options for dental fillings include glass ionomers, made of acrylic acids, and fine glass powders.

Pros:

  • Can be colored to blend in with your nearby teeth.
  • They also can be designed to release small amounts of fluoride, which helps prevent decay.

Cons:

  • Can break, so they’re not a good choice for surfaces that do a lot of chewing.

Crowns That Look Like Your Teeth

When you need a crown, inlay, or veneer, the go-to material is typically zirconia, porcelain, ceramic, or another glass-like substance.

Pros:

  • The color closely matches your teeth. These materials hold up for a long time and are very hard.

Cons:

  • You’ll need several visits to your dentist to get a tooth restored with porcelain.
  • Cost more than other options.

Dentists choose porcelain for veneers because it can be formed into thin shells that fit over the surface of your teeth.

 

Metal Amalgam Fillings

Dentists have used amalgam to fill cavities for more than a century. These fillings combine silver, tin, copper, and mercury.

Pros:

  • They’re long-lasting.
  • Relatively inexpensive.

Cons:

  • Amalgam is silver-colored, so other people may see them when you smile.
  • You may be temporarily sensitive to hot or cold after you get a filling.

Your dentist may suggest amalgam if your cavity is in a back molar because it stands up well to chewing.

Gold Crowns, Inlays, and Bridges

Gold fillings are indeed made of gold, combined with other metals. They are typically used for inlays, crowns, and fixed bridges.

Pros:

  • They’re strong and aren’t likely to break down or stain.

Cons:

  • The color won’t match your teeth.
  • Also, it can be relatively expensive.