February 3, 2010

Types of Dental Fillings

A dental filling is a restoration used to fix a damaged tooth. Six types of dental fillings are used by dentists. 

6 Types of Dental Fillings

The first type of dental filling is called amalgam. One of the least costly and most durable types, amalgams are made from mercury and metals such as copper, tin, and silver. This type is also called a “silver” filling. It is the original type of dental filling and has been in use for well over a century. In recent years, dentists have used this type mostly to fill the back teeth.

A second type of filling, known as composite, is made from acrylic resin and quartz particles. Some inlays and veneers are made from composite, too. An advantage of this type is that it can be shaded and colored to blend with the real tooth. While less robust than amalgams, fillings made from composite are still quite strong and they don’t corrode.

Glass ionomer fillings are a third type. These is most often used to fill cavities found on the roots of the teeth and are often saved for small fillings that will not feel strong pressure from chewing. Like composites, glass ionomer fillings blend with the color of the tooth to look more natural. This type can contain fluoride, which can help ward off tooth decay. They cost more than amalgams, though, and their texture may coarsen with age and leave them open to plaque buildup.

A fourth type is made from resin ionomer, a mix of glass filler with acrylic resins and acids. These tend to be used for baby teeth and non-chewing tooth surfaces. They can be stronger than glass ionomer fillings, but they don’t last as long as amalgams or composites.

A fifth type of dental filling is made of ceramic or porcelain. These have a texture and color very similar to tooth enamel and can be quite tough. They are among the more costly types of fillings, and they’re more liable to break than other types.

The last type of dental filling is made from a gold alloy made of gold and copper. These and are some of the most durable dental fillings you can get. They are also among the most costly, and their coloring can’t be changed to blend with the tooth.

Dental Fillings and You

Each type of filling has pros and cons. Want to know more? Talk to your dentist!