Cavities, also known as tooth decay, are extremely common. So common, in fact, that according to the CDC, about 90% of adults in the United States have had at least one at some point in their lives. That staggering number indicates that almost everyone in the U.S. has had or will need a dental filling, but interestingly, many people have no idea what they’re actually made of. To shed some light on this important topic, let’s go over the different types of dental fillings, what they’re made from, and which materials we work with here at Kawveh Nofallah DMD.
Types of Dental Fillings
Dentists work with several main types of dental fillings, but the most common are amalgam, gold, and composite. Each filling type has its own unique benefits and you’ll find that every dentist has personal preferences on which is best.
Amalgam Dental Fillings
Amalgam fillings were the undisputed king of the trade for more than 100 years. Their main benefit is the ability to last for up to 25 years, but unfortunately, amalgam fillings can actually have a negative impact on a patient’s smile because they don’t blend in with the color of the tooth.
These fillings are typically dark silver or gray in color, made up of a mixture of different materials containing mercury and other metals such as zinc, tin, copper, and silver. For this reason, amalgam fillings have fallen out of use for most dentists due to long-term safety concerns and the availability of safer and better-looking alternatives.
Gold Dental Fillings
Gold fillings are significantly more expensive than the alternatives and don’t blend in with the color of teeth at all, but they are much safer than amalgam fillings. And interestingly, some patients actually prefer the look of gold teeth or gold dental fillings.
As stated plainly in their name, gold dental fillings are made of actual gold and thus, are exceedingly durable. It’s not at all uncommon for gold fillings to last up to 20 years. They are less popular than they once were, but patients specifically seeking out that look can still find dentists who work with gold fillings.
Composite Dental Fillings
Composite fillings have become the bread-and-butter of modern fillings. They’re less expensive than gold fillings and far safer than amalgam. Composite dental fillings are also less destructive to the tooth structure than amalgam, which can contract and expand over time to cause tooth breakage. While composite fillings generally last between 5-15 years, not quite as long as other options, they are still much preferred over their longer-lasting alternatives.
Made of a type of resin, composite fillings can be applied to the tooth as a liquid and then become very hard after it cures. This resin can be color-matched to the existing teeth, so composite fillings are by far the most aesthetically pleasing and least obvious option. The resin is reinforced with silica, glass quartz, or ceramic to strengthen it for standing up to the daily beating, grinding, and general wear and tear our teeth experience.
Which Filling Type Do We Use?
At Kawveh Nofallah DMD, our dentists only work with composite dental fillings. Composite fillings are not only the most aesthetically pleasing, but they’re also the safest and most effective option.
Since the resin works as an adhesive, it has better contact with the tiny nooks and crannies of the teeth, which makes composite fillings more secure than metal options. For this reason, we don’t have to drill quite as large of a hole in the tooth with composite fillings and more of the original tooth structure stays intact.
One of our biggest goals is to give each of our patients a smile they can be proud of and confidently show off. The metal in amalgam and gold fillings is very obvious and attention-grabbing, but composite fillings are so well-camouflaged that most people never even notice them. This makes composite the easy choice because we can match the color of the resin to the tooth exactly so the filling blends in and is virtually invisible.
The Best Dental Fillings
Truthfully, the best filling available is no filling at all. While we always strive to offer our patients the best possible fillings, we would much prefer to see our patients completely cavity-free.
Here are some tips that can help you avoid getting cavities altogether:
- Brush your teeth and floss twice daily
- Replace sugary or acidic drinks like juice and soda with water
- Quit smoking
- Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups
Need a Filling? Contact Dr. Kawveh Nofallah!
If you think you may have a cavity, it’s important to get it checked out by a professional dentist as soon as possible so the tooth doesn’t continue to decay. The sooner we catch the cavity and properly fill it, the better it is for the overall health of your teeth.
Even if you’re not sure you’re dealing with a cavity, feel free to give us a call at 863-648-5338 or request an appointment online. We offer several other preventative and general dentistry services to keep your smile looking its best or help you get it back there. The Kawveh Nofallah DMD team looks forward to serving you!
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