Tooth-Colored Fillings vs. Traditional Fillings
Dr. Raptou treats cavities by removing the decayed part of the tooth and filling in the remaining area. We also use fillings to repair teeth that are broken, cracked or worn down from tooth grinding or nail-biting.
What Kinds of Filling Materials are Offered?
We offer a variety of dental filling materials, including gold, silver amalgams, porcelain, and plastic. We also offer composite resin fillings and glass ionomers (a material containing glass particles), both of which are composite fillings with similar uses.
Gold fillings are one of the traditional options for cavity treatment, but they have certain advantages and disadvantages that you should know about.
Advantages of Gold Fillings
Gold fillings are known for their durability, as they can last for more than 15 years and don’t corrode. They are also very strong and withstand the forces of chewing. Many patients also view gold as more aesthetically pleasing than silver amalgam fillings or other filling options.
Disadvantages of Gold Fillings
On the other hand, gold fillings can cost up to 10 times as much as silver fillings and other materials. You will also require at least two visits to our office for us to place them. In rare occasions, patients with gold fillings and silver amalgams placed immediately next to each other can cause a sharp pain (called a galvanic shock) due to contact between the metals and saliva. Some patients also prefer tooth-colored fillings over metal-colored ones.
Another traditional filling, silver amalgams are alloys containing mercury and other metals such as silver, copper, zinc, or tin. They come with their own set of strengths and weaknesses.
Advantages of Silver Fillings
Silver fillings usually last for at least 15 years, outperforming composite fillings. They also withstand chewing forces quite well and generally cost less than composite fillings.
Disadvantages of Silver Fillings
Silver fillings don’t match the color of your natural teeth and can discolor the surrounding area of the toot. We also sometimes need to remove healthy parts of your tooth to create a space large enough to hold the filling. Also, your teeth expand and contract when they come into contact with hot and cold liquids, potentially causing the tooth to crack. Compared to other filling materials, amalgam experiences more expansion and contraction, and thus a higher chance of cracking. Lastly, about 1% of the population suffers allergic reactions to the mercury in the amalgam.
Composite fillings (also known as tooth-colored fillings) are a highly popular modern innovation that, as the name suggests, are practically indistinguishable from your natural teeth. Let’s consider the pros and cons of this type of filling.
Advantages of Composite Fillings
As stated already, we can alter the color of composite fillings, so they match the color of your surrounding teeth. For this reason, composites are recommended for the front teeth or visible areas of the teeth. Tooth-colored fillings also form chemical bonds with your teeth, boosting their strength and durability. This type of filling is also used to repair teeth that are worn, broken or chipped. We also generally don’t need to remove as much of your existing tooth structure to place composite fillings, compared to amalgam fillings.
Disadvantages of Composite Fillings
Tooth-colored fillings only last for about 5 years and using them to cover larger cavities can reduce their longevity. It also takes up to 20 additional minutes to place these fillings. Composite materials can chip off the tooth, depending on where they’re placed. They can also cost up to twice the price of amalgam fillings.
During your consultation, we will work with you to determine which type of filling material is the right choice for you.
For more information, please contact our office at (614) 427-0449.