Cavities are the most common dental problem for American children and adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 50% of American children and teenagers have at least one cavity. If that seems alarming, the reality is much worse for adults. Over 90% of U.S. adults have had at least one cavity at some point, and tooth decay commonly goes untreated, leading to more oral and even general health problems in the future.
At Manhasset Dental Arts in Manhasset, New York, our team of dentists and dental professionals offer a range of general and cosmetic dentistry services, including fillings. Here are five types of fillings that are available.
Five types of dental fillings
There are several types of dental fillings. Your choice will depend on factors like the extent and severity of tooth decay and your budget. Most fillings are made from a combination of materials that match your tooth enamel and improve the overall cosmetic appearance of the tooth.
Some materials are stronger and last longer than other types of fillings but may be more expensive. Here are the five types of dental fillings:
Amalgam fillings are the traditional “silver” looking fillings (they’re actually made from a metal alloy). Amalgam fillings typically are used to fill cavities in your back molars. While they’re not as popular as they used to be and many people prefer to get fillings that match the color of the tooth, amalgam fillings are durable and can last for many years.
Porcelain fillings match the texture and color of natural tooth enamel, so they’re an ideal choice for filling cavities in the front teeth. Porcelain fillings are usually less durable than amalgam fillings.
Composite resin fillings are also known as “enamel colored” because they match the natural color of your teeth, which also makes it a common choice for repairing small cracks and chips. Composite resin fillings are also considered less durable than amalgam fillings, but they can last anywhere from five to seven years or longer depending on wear-and-tear and the location of the fillings.
Glass ionomer fillings are made from a combination of glass and acrylic and are unlike other fillings in that they also release fluoride to help strengthen and protect the tooth from decay.
Porcelain fused to metal
If you want the strength and durability of an amalgam filling with the cosmetic appeal of a porcelain filling, porcelain fused to metal fillings is the best of both worlds.
If you’re not sure what type of filling will work best for you, don’t worry! Our dentists will discuss your options with you and recommend the best type of filling for your oral health, budget, and lifestyle.
Why you should never ignore a cavity
Cavities usually start small but inevitably get worse over time. Ignoring a cavity can lead to additional oral health problems like an infection and require more extensive and invasive treatment like a root canal, or ultimately result in tooth loss.
The best way to protect yourself from tooth decay is to practice good oral hygiene, eat healthy foods, and go to the dentist every six months for a dental exam and cleaning.
For more information about the cosmetic and general dentistry services available at Manhasset Dental Arts, contact us today to schedule an appointment.