Skip to Main Content
the else fullsize desktop banner img

How to Choose the Appropriate Type of Dental Filling for Your Teeth


How to Choose the Appropriate Type of Dental Filling for Your Teeth

Jan 31 • types of dental fillings


Almost all of us have had a cavity at some point in our lives. Cavities occur when the enamel, which is the hard outer layer of the tooth, gets damaged. Small holes are made into the tooth. 

Bacteria, sugary foods and drinks, and poor oral hygiene can all cause cavities. However, plaque is the main culprit of cavities. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that accumulates on your teeth. It  weakens the enamel, causing it to break down and form cavities.

To treat a cavity your dentist will fill the hole with a restoration called a filling. The dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then fill the area with a type of material. The type of material used will depend on the location, cost, and your dentist’s recommendation. 

There are several types of dental filling materials available. Here’s a look at them, as well as their pros and cons. 

Amalgam Fillings 

These are the most common. They are silver fillings mixed with multiple metals, including mercury, silver, tin, zinc, and copper. They are commonly used because they are durable and long-lasting. They can last 15-20 years. They are strong and able to withstand chewing forces. Amalgam fillings are also cost-effective.

One of the biggest downsides, though, is that amalgam fillings are very dark and noticeable. They are best used for back teeth. Otherwise, they may not be aesthetically pleasing, especially for visible teeth. Another issue is that they contain mercury, which may raise concerns about potential health risks. However, the ADA and FDA consider them safe.

Dental Composite Fillings 

These are tooth-colored fillings that can be closely matched to the color of your natural teeth. Unlike amalgam fillings, this allows for better aesthetics. Composite fillings bond directly to the tooth, which can help support the remaining tooth structure. They require less removal of tooth structure compared to amalgam fillings, so you get to keep more of your natural tooth. 

However, there are a couple of disadvantages. Composite fillings are less durable than amalgam fillings, lasting seven years on average. They are also more expensive than amalgam fillings and are prone to staining over time, especially if you smoke or consume foods or drinks that stain teeth.

Dental Gold Fillings

Gold fillings are another option. They are durable and long-lasting, often lasting 10-15 years. They are well-tolerated by gum tissues and offer a precise fit.

However, gold fillings are the most expensive fillings. They are not tooth-colored, so they’re more visible and may not be aesthetically pleasing. In addition, they require multiple visits to the dentist for fitting and placement.

Dental Ceramic Fillings 

These are also known as porcelain fillings. They are highly aesthetic and can be color-matched to natural teeth. They are resistant to staining and are also biocompatible and non-toxic.

However, ceramic fillings are more brittle than composite fillings, making them likely to chip or break under extreme pressure. They are more expensive than amalgam and composite fillings. They may also require more tooth structure removal compared to composite fillings.

Glass Ionomer Fillings

These fillings are good for small to medium cavities. They release fluoride, which can help prevent further tooth decay. They bond directly to the tooth and can be used as a liner for other types of fillings.

There are some downsides, though. They are not as durable as other fillings, lasting just five years on average. They are prone to wearing down or fracturing over time. They are also more prone to staining compared to composite fillings. They cannot be used in high-stress areas of the mouth due to their lack of durability.

Temporary Dental Fillings

Fillings are generally meant to last many years. However, there are also temporary fillings that a dentist may use. Temporary fillings may be used in the following instances:

  • If emergency dental treatment is needed
  • For fillings that require more than one appointment 
  • Following a root canal
  • To allow a tooth’s nerve to settle down if the pulp becomes irritated

As the name implies, temporary fillings last a short period of time and should be replaced with a permanent filling as soon as possible. Temporary fillings usually fall out, fracture, or wear out within a month. Get a permanent filling soon or else the tooth could become infected.

Get in Touch with  Our North Vancouver Dentist  Now!

If you have a cavity, you have several options for fillings. The team at Blue Sky Dental can help you choose the right option for your mouth.

See how we can restore the appearance and function of your teeth. Our friendly team is ready to help you get your mouth in tip-top shape. Schedule an appointment with our office today by filling out the online form or calling 604-971-6999.

Ready for your first appointment?