|Dr. Alan Wishneff D.D.S.
Restorative Dentistry / Oral Health
March 14, 2016
A cavity is a dental problem that needs to be dealt with as soon as it is discovered. To help keep your teeth healthy, cavities need to be filled. However, cavity fillings can be unsightly for a person’s smile. Today dentists have many different materials they can choose from to fill a cavity. It all depends on what is best for the patients. The following are some of the different options that are available along with some pros and cons for each.
Fillings that Look Like Your Teeth
The most widely-used dental filling materials are composite fillings. These fillings are made of glass or quartz in resin. The advantages are that dentists can match the color of a composite filling to the color of the surrounding teeth. However, like regular teeth, these composites can stain or discolor over time. The composites are good for cavities that are small to medium in size and are good in teeth that perform a lot of chewing action. If you don’t like getting dental work done, then these are good for you, because there is far less drilling then some other fillings.
Fillings that Release Fluoride
One of the newer options for fillings are known as glass ionomers. These are made of acrylic acids and fine-glass powders. The fillings, like others, can be colored to blend in with the surrounding natural teeth. A unique design trait is that they can release small amounts of fluoride and this can help in decay prevention. A big negative for these fillings, is that they can fracture. This means they are not appropriate for chewing surfaces. Dentists suggest these fillings for cavities near the gum line or to fill between teeth.
Crowns that Look Like Your Teeth
If a crown or veneer is needed, dentists typically use porcelain, ceramic or another glass like material. These materials have a color and translucency that closely matches natural teeth. Plus they are very durable and hard. The downside is that porcelain restorations require several dental visits and can cost a little more than other materials. Dentists like porcelain because it can be formed into a very thin shell that can be placed over enamel.
Affordable Fillings that Last a Long Time
For a long time dentists have used amalgam to fill cavities. The fillings are alloys that combine silver, tin, copper and mercury. The advantage to these fillings is that they are extremely durable and long lasting. These are also one of the least expensive types of fillings. The disadvantages of these fillings are that they are silver in color. They will standout from the surrounding teeth. These fillings can also be temporarily sensitive to hot or cold. Dentists like the amalgam fillings for cavities in a back molar because they stand up well to chewing. When hearing that mercury is used, many people may be wary about these fillings. But the American Dental Association considers the material safe.
Affordable Crowns, Fixed Bridges and Partials
Silver fillings are not really made out of silver. They are made of base metal alloys that look like silver. These are mostly used for crowns, fixed bridges and partial dentures. Along with being resistant to fracture and wear, silver fillings are relatively inexpensive. However, they also stand out against the surrounding teeth.
Gold Crowns Resistant to Tarnishing
Unlike silver fillings, gold fillings are made out of gold, combined with other metals. Gold fillings are used for inlays, crowns and fixed bridges. Gold fillings are very strong and highly resistant to corrosion and tarnishing. As you can imagine, gold fillings will not match the color of the surrounding teeth. They will mostly be used in back teeth or were a cavity won’t be seen.
If you are in the need of getting a cavity filled, talk everything over with your dentist. Together you can decide what is best for you.
For more information about this topic or any other dental topic, contact Dr. Wishneff at [email protected] or call (561) 488-3111. Dr. Alan Wishneff is a Boca Raton Dentist dedicated to bringing patients state-of-the-art dental care. As a cosmetic, family and restorative dentist, he helps patients enjoy a natural and healthy smile. He is trained in cosmetic dentistry, including porcelain veneers; advanced cosmetic bonding techniques; oral surgery; medical emergency procedures; advanced crown and bridge; advanced TMJ; implant dentistry; endodontics-root canals: utilization of most advanced dental materials. Dr, Wishneff and staff are dedicated to providing great smiles in Boca Raton for more than 30 years. After more than two decades of practicing dentistry in Boca Raton, Dr. Wishneff is more committed than ever to this community.
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