When we think of dental fillings, most of us think of the shiny metal fillings known as “amalgam” fillings. The fact is, those are just one type of dental filling available to our patients. For teeth that are visible, such as your front teeth, you may be interested in learning about the different types of cosmetic fillings that you may receive and the advantages of choosing them over amalgam. We here at Summercrest Dental in Sexton Mountain are pleased to offer various types of cosmetic fillings to our patients, helping to not only protect your teeth but also restore them to their original natural beauty.
What Types of Cosmetic Fillings are Available to Me?
In addition to amalgam fillings (which are a combination of various metals including silver, copper, and mercury), other popular choices include gold, composite resin, glass ionomer, and ceramic porcelain. Gold is a popular choice for many people because it is durable and strong, but it is admittedly quite noticeable. Some people do prefer that, but for our patients who want a subtler appearance, ceramic, porcelain, glass ionomer, and composite resin are the preferred choice.
Of these three options, glass ionomer is perhaps the most fragile and least natural-seeming choice. While it is a fairly good color match to your surrounding teeth, it may stand out a little bit and appear different than your natural teeth. Because it is made up of glass and acrylic, it can be fragile. It typically lasts about five years and is recommended for inlays, fillings on your front teeth, and dental work that occurs near or below the tooth roots.
Another extremely popular option for our patients is composite resin. This is a great choice, as it can be tinted to match your teeth. It is made up of a mixture of glass and plastic resin and can be used for inlays and fillings. It requires less drilling, as it is bonded directly to your teeth. Like glass ionomer, though, it does not last forever. Expect to replace it as soon as five years, though it can last up to ten years.
Finally, we like to recommend ceramic, porcelain for many of our patients. Of these three cosmetic fillings, this one is a great choice. It is hardier than composite resin and glass ionomer, lasting as long as seven years or more. It is a great choice for inlays, crowns, and fillings and is less likely to become stained or discolored. However, because it is made up of ceramic porcelain, it can be somewhat brittle and fragile. It is not advised if you grind your teeth (such as your molars) and you will want to avoid chewing on ice or other non-food products (like pen lids or biting your nails) to help prolong the life of your ceramic porcelain cosmetic filling.
Cosmetic fillings are a great option for our patients, allowing you to protect your teeth from decay and cavities like a fluoride treatment while still maintaining a dazzling white smile. Many of our patients prefer them over gold and amalgam, making them the ideal choice for many people. To learn more about cosmetic fillings or to schedule an appointment with us here at Summercrest Dental, please give us a call today at (503) 649-7701.