Dental Fillings are one of the principal resources a dentist can use when treating (and further preventing) tooth decay or repairing worn-down, cracked, or broken teeth.

As the name implies, dental fillings are applied when your dentist has to remove the decayed tooth material and needs to “fill” the resultant cavity.

There are many types of dental fillings. Single (or combined) metals to diverse materials, including ceramics, glass, and plastics.

Nonetheless, not all types of dental fillings are suited for every patient. Thus, you should be well-informed by the time of your dentist appointment.

In this guide, we will be talking about the types of dental fillings, their aesthetics, durability, cost, and possible issues, like allergy or sensitivity. Let´s begin.

Not all dental fillings are equal.

Some of the most common dental fillings include gold cast fillings, silver amalgam fillings, composite resin fillings, glass ionomer fillings, and ceramic fillings.

However, each of these materials has its peculiarities, making them more (or less) suited for certain patients than others. Let´s have a look.

Durability:

When it comes to durability, gold cast fillings and ceramic fillings are said to last 15+ years (and cost just as much). On the other hand, silver amalgam fillings can last 10+ years.

Composite resin fillings and glass ionomer fillings are much less durable, lasting about 5years (or less, in the case of glass ionomer). 

Aesthetics:

The general opinion suggests ceramic fillings and composite resin fillings might be more popular. But mostly because they resemble natural teeth colour more closely.

Gold cast fillings look flashy, but some people consider them too much, and silver amalgam fillings are not so easy on the eyes.

Cost:

Regarding a cost/benefit ratio, the go-to choice here would be silver amalgam fillings. They cost almost as much as composite resin fillings while ranking higher on durability.

Albeit more aesthetic, composite resin fillings and glass ionomer fillings cost more (while lasting less). Alternatively, gold and ceramic fillings are way more expensive than the rest.

Possible complications:

It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity immediately after receiving a tooth filling. However, you should consult your dentist if it lasts for more than 2weeks. 

In the case of gold fillings, there is a risk of Galvanic Shock. It happens when there´s a gold filling placed next to a silver amalgam filling.

When the saliva interacts with both metals, an electric current might occur, which would cause the patient to feel a sharp pain.

Silver amalgam fillings also present the risk of developing an allergic reaction to mercury or another metal used in the amalgam.

Nevertheless, it is a rare occurrence (about 1%), and the FDA deems silver amalgam fillings safe for patients 6years old and above.  

As you can see, this is why you should sit down with your dentist and weigh the pros and cons of all types of dental fillings.

This way, and by following the professional advice of your dentist, you will get to choose the right type of dental fillings for you. Until next time!