Dental Fillings: Choosing the Right Dental Filling Material For Your Teeth

Pros and cons of each of the dental filling materials you have to choose from:

Silver amalgam

Silver amalgam is the tooth filling material that most people are familiar with. It consists of a blend of silver, copper, zinc, tin, and mercury, with mercury making up almost 50% of the material. Amalgam is popular with dentists because it is strong, durable, and less expensive. While it is less attractive than other options, it can typically last for over 15 years. Fillings made with silver amalgam are easy to put in and do not get contaminated by blood or saliva. However, silver amalgam is prone to expanding and contracting, making it more likely that your tooth will crack or develop open spaces between the tooth and filling that will trap bacteria and food that can cause more cavities to develop. The presence of toxic mercury in these fillings is also a point of controversy.

Composite fillings

Composite fillings are a popular option because their colour can be matched to the shade of your surrounding teeth and blend in with the rest of your smile. They are constructed from a resin plastic material and are pricier than silver amalgam fillings. They are less durable and usually need to be replaced roughly every five years.

Ceramic fillings

Ceramic fillings are commonly referred to as inlays or onlays. They are long-lasting and pleasing to look at, as they are made of porcelain and are thus tooth-coloured and more resistant to abrasion and staining. They are both durable and aesthetically pleasing. The material is more expensive than the other filling materials, but ceramics are tooth-colored and more resistant to staining and abrasion than composite resin. The disadvantages of ceramic fillings are that it is more expensive and more brittle, and requires removing some of the tooth to make room for the extra bulk.

Glass ionomers

Glass ionomers are a good option for kids whose teeth are still developing because they release fluoride, which can help protect against further tooth decay. However, these are much weaker than composite resin and far more likely to experience wear and tear. It is also less precise than composite resin for matching your tooth color.

Gold fillings

Gold fillings are less common and more expensive, and are also harder to find offered. They take more than one visit to the dentist to put in, but can last for more than 15 years. They are hardy and non-corrosive.