Types of Tooth Fillings
There are five major types of tooth fillings: amalgam, composite resin, cast gold, ceramics, and glass ionomer. Each of these filling materials has a different cost, life span and ease of application for fillings.
Amalgam is almost half mercury and the remainder is a combination of silver, tin and copper. This is the least expensive material and lasts about 10 years. The pros for choosing amalgam include the strength of the material and the filling is completed in one dental appointment. The cons for choosing amalgam include the high visibility of the material in your teeth, the material can not only discolor your nearby tooth as well as corroding over time, and the filling is not bonded to your tooth.
Composite Resin Fillings
Composite resin is a combination of plastic and finely ground glass pieces; it is not as expensive as cast gold but not as inexpensive as amalgam. Composite resin fillings should remain in place for at least five years. The pros for choosing composite resin include the ability to match the color of your teeth, fillings can be completed in one dental appointment, strong adhesion to the tooth, and ability to be combined with other filling materials. The cons for choosing composite resin include the increased cost, the material is more likely to wear even with the more recent advancements with the material, and require longer appointment times due the proper application process requiring layers to ensure proper and snug fits.
Cast Gold Fillings
Cast Gold is composed of gold and other metals to form a gold alloy. This material can cost up to 10 times more than the amalgam counterpart but last more than 15 years. The pros for choosing cast gold include the more appealing color of gold versus the silver tone to the amalgam, gold is resistant to corrosion, and the strength is highest of all the filling materials. The cons for choosing cast gold include multiple appointments with the dentist for an impression and placement, the high cost of the gold, the visibility of the gold and should the gold filling be placed next to an amalgam filling your mouth will experience “galvanic shock” or an electric charge.
Ceramic fillings are composed of mostly porcelain and cost you more than composite resin. They can run up a bill as high as that of cast gold and should last you at least seven years. The pros to choosing ceramic fillings include the tooth color of the material, higher resistance to wear and discoloration over time than composite resin. The cons for choosing ceramics include the brittle nature of the material and the requirement that the material be of a certain size to reduce the likelihood of breaking and the potential decreased size of the tooth.
Glass Ionomer Fillings
Finally, glass ionomer is composed of a glass ingredient, fluoroaluminosilicate, and acrylic. When this material is used with resin, it performs at its strongest and most resilient. The filling of glass ionomer should last more than five years and the costs are comparable to composite resin. The pros to choosing glass ionomer include matching your tooth color, the giving off of fluoride, and seamless adhesion to your tooth. The cons to choosing this material include the likelihood that the filling will wear or break due to its weak nature and longer appointment times due the proper application process requiring layers to ensure proper and snug fits.
More About Dental Fillings : Cost of Dental Fillings