The use of dental fillings is aimed at restoring the structural integrity and functionality of the teeth. Damage that requires this procedure is usually caused by dental cavities or mechanical trauma. The latter is often attributed to teeth misuse resulting from habits or disorders like biting nails or grinding of teeth. The fillings are installed in place of the lost segments such that the structure is stabilized and protected against further damage. When you are going through the filling procedure, you will have to select the best type of material to use. Here are the main options and a short description of each.
Amalgam is commonly recognized as a silver filling and it consists of mercury mixed with silver, zinc, tin and copper. The mercury is not toxic because the harmful chemical properties are changed when combined with the other components. This material is favoured because it is the cheapest type of filling. It is very strong and relatively durable; also, the dental procedure can be completed in a single visit. The main drawback is that the amalgam will not match your teeth color so it is not aesthetically pleasing and the filling will tarnish over time. Additionally, some of your tooth structure might have to be removed during cavity preparation to keep the amalgam in place.
The components of composite resin are fine glass and a special form of plastic. The fillings can be placed on the affected teeth directly or manufactured in a laboratory and then installed. Composite is a popular choice because the color will match with your teeth. The composite material can form a direct bond with teeth and this ensures that the fillings stay in place after bonding. On the other hand, composite is more expensive than amalgam and the dental procedure will take much longer to complete. The durability of the resin may also reduce significantly if a lot of pressure is exerted on the teeth.
Gold alloy fillings are more expensive than alternatives and the dental procedure takes at least two visits. However, the material is popular because it is resilient and lasts for over fifteen years. Also, it does not corrode and the color is favored over silver amalgam.
These fillings consist of acrylic and a special glass component; the most common application is as cement for inlay dental work. This filling material releases fluoride and bonds with the teeth, which enhances dental protection. Unfortunately, the ionomer is susceptible to fractures and cracks and the color does not match the teeth perfectly.
For more information, contact a specialist like Elphin Dental.