Fillings are one of the most common forms of restorative dentistry in Houston. They replace decayed portions of teeth, making the teeth stronger and healthier. Dental fillings are primarily for two scenarios: repairing cavities and filling root canal sites.
Cavities form when bacteria wears away the protective minerals that shield teeth from damage. The bacteria begins digging into the enamel of the tooth, burrowing right down to the dentin.
Root canals require an entry point, usually at the top of the tooth, to remove damaged dental pulp inside the tooth. A filling seals up the entry point once the procedure is complete.
Materials for Dental Fillings
There are several possible filling materials when needing dental fillings. Each material has its own strengths and weaknesses and no one filling fits every situation for every person.
Gold Fillings have been around for a long period of time given the body’s tolerance of gold as a suitable replacement. Gum tissue is readily accepting of gold inlays, and as a result a gold filling may last more than 20 years.
That said, gold fillings are very expensive and take several visits to finish.
Silver amalgam fillings are durable and less expensive than gold fillings and porcelain fillings. However, silver amalgam fillings are darker, and may stand out more. Most people do not get these fillings for front teeth.
Composite resin fillings are a type of plastic material that is relatively cheap and mimics the appearance of natural teeth. They can take a long time to apply as each layer of resin must harden before the next layer can set.
Composite resins are not the best option for large fillings as they have a tendency to chip. They also stain easily from coffee, tea, and tobacco.
These fillings also have the shortest lifespan compared to other filling materials, with an average between three and ten years.
Patients love porcelain fillings for their natural appearance. They cost about as much as a gold filling and are made to order by a dental laboratory. Dentists can color match them to teeth and they are resistant to staining. They are, however, less durable than metal fillings.