For decades dentists have been repairing patient’s teeth with an imminently recognizable filling that is silver in color. These fillings, called amalgam fillings, are recognized as being safe and are affordable enough to be in reach for many patients. In spite of this, many patients are starting to opt for the composite resins known as white fillings. White fillings are a great choice for restoring your teeth, but it pays to compare your options.
Cast Gold Fillings
Gold has a long history as a tooth repair material, with the earliest examples being over 1,000 years old. Its non-reactive nature keeps it from corroding, while its durability ensures it stands up to the wear and tear of years of use. This style of filling takes two separate appointments to place but will last for over 15 years with proper care. The first step removes any existing tooth decay, after which the dentist produces a mold of your teeth from which the filling will be cast. The second visit is for the installation of the completed mold. The skill involved in forming gold, as well as the cost of the material, makes this the priciest option available.
These filings are composed of an alloy of zinc, copper, mercury, tin, silver, and zinc. In the United States alone, there are over 100 million patients who have amalgam fillings. These fillings have multiple benefits, starting with a low price point. The composition of the material makes them incredibly durable and capable of lasting for years under normal use. It is possible for them to corrode, affecting the color of the tooth they’ve been used to repair, and their silver color is very noticeable, making them inappropriate for front teeth for most patients.
This type of filling is the rising star of the restorative dentistry world. Blending together glass and plastics, they are nearly indistinguishable from the tooth’s natural material. They are a great choice for repairing cavities and only take a single visit to prepare and place. They’re available in multiple shades from which your dentist will choose the one most closely matched to your teeth. The dentist will add layers of composite and harden, or cure, it using a specialized light. Once the decay is removed from your teeth, your dentist will take the time to polish and smooth the tooth to protect it from staining.
Why Patients Love White Fillings
The ability of white fillings to be utterly indistinguishable from the natural material of your teeth is a strong incentive for many patients. The way they bond to the tooth, adhering to the remaining enamel, ensures they have a reasonable lifespan for their cost. They can last patients over five years with care, and every year the compositions are getting better and lasting longer. They fall between amalgam and gold fillings in price and are a fantastic way to repair the front teeth. Insurance coverage will typically cover this type of filling if being used on a front tooth, but will only cover the cost of an amalgam for teeth in the back of the mouth.
How To Care For Your Composite Fillings
Taking proper care of your white fillings will ensure that they last as long as possible. This starts with the usual daily oral hygiene practices, including flossing, brushing, and mouthwash. Limiting your sugar intake, especially in acidic forms such as sodas, and, most importantly, see your dentist on a regular basis. If you want to make sure they stay looking their best, you should avoid red wine, tea, coffee, smoking, and other sources of staining such as blueberries. You should also schedule regular visits with your dentist.